Alexey Oleynik says there is a belt on the line when he takes on Fabricio Werdum at UFC 249.
Oleynik will welcome Werdum back to the Octagon after a USADA suspension on the stacked UFC 249 card. The Russian is eager to share the cage with a ‘legend’ and says this fight is to see who’s the best grappler of all-time.
“It’s really a fight for the best grappler in heavyweight and UFC. Maybe the best grappler of all-time,” Oleynik said to BJPENN.com. “Maybe this can be for the BMS, best motherf****r submission title. It will be a great experience. We have many wins and submissions combined.”
Although Oleynik thinks it’s for the fictional title, he isn’t sure if the former heavyweight champion will grapple with him. He believes the Brazilian will try and strike with him and look for a knockout win.
“Werdum is one of the best grapplers of all-time,” he said. “I’m not sure if it will be a grappling match though. Fabricio believes in his striking technique. In my opinion, I think he will try and strike with me.”
For Alexey Oleynik, while Werdum was suspended, he was active. Although he suffered some losses to the likes of Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris he did pick up a win in his last fight against Maurice Greene.
The Russian knows he’s in fighting shape and isn’t sure how Werdum will be after years away from the Octagon.
“It was not a good layoff because he used banned supplements. Fabricio used the time to rest and recovery though,” he explained. “During that time, I fought a lot, lost some, won some, and got injured. Maybe he will be angry to fight or what. But, I know I’m working very hard and that’s all that I can focus on.”
If they do indeed grapple, which Oleynik doubts, he says submitting Werdum would be legacy-defining. He also knows a win would put him into the top-10 of the heavyweight division and prove he’s still one of the best.
“I ask God to help me in this match. It is a very important match and I’m going to fight the best. If I win, I will go up a lot in the heavyweight ranks,” he explained. “This is a very important win for me. It was important mentally, too because I needed that to believe in myself and my technique. But, if I lose, it’s a loss to one of the best.”
In the end, should Oleynik get his hand raised he already knows who he wants next and that’s the loser of Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249.
“The loser of Ngannou-Rozenstruik might be my next opponent. I know the winner will get a title shot, but if I beat Werdum maybe I get the loser in my next fight,” he concluded. “They are all very good guys but no problem, I’ll fight them.”
Who do you think will win between Alexey Oleynik and Fabricio Werdum at UFC 249?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/6/2020.