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Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum knows Derrick Lewis can’t match him on the mat. So he plans to take the fight there when they meet at UFC 216.

“I think, I hope, I finish Derrick Lewis,” Werdum said during a media luncheon this week in support of his Oct. 7 pay-per-view fight with Lewis at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “I want to try to finish him on the ground.”

Werdum (21-7-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC), a decorated submission grappler and former ADCC champ, is no longer the one-sided threat of his early days. So he could stand and trade with Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC), a certified slugger who’s knocked out all but one of his UFC opponents. Still, it might be wiser to use jiu-jitsu.

Whatever path Werdum takes, he’s convinced it will be a more exciting fight than his previous one.

“I know it’s a good fight,” Werdum said. “It will be a good submission or a good knockout.”

Werdum’s previous fight, a rematch with onetime UFC title challenger Alistair Overeem, wasn’t much better than their first meeting six years prior. And it ended in a majority-decision loss.

But then again, Werdum thinks the fight was so indecisive that it didn’t count much against him.

“Normally when you lose, it’s like three steps down,” he said. “When you have one victory, it’s one step up. But this loss to Overeem, it’s a very small step down.”

Because he didn’t suffer a blowout, Werdum can come into the fight against Lewis without being scared of the possible result.

“I have zero, zero pressure for this fight,” Werdum said. “I lost my last fight by decision. The fans said I won the fight; I believe it, too.”

Provided he doesn’t wind up on the end of a highlight-reel knockout or a bum decision, Werdum expects it won’t be long before he’s back to the top of the heavyweight division.

“I think the next one is a title shot,” Werdum said. “I hope I get a very nice submission, and I go directly to a title shot, because Stipe Miocic hasn’t fought for a very long time, and it’s not good for the heavyweight division.”

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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