Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon at UFC 249, and he doesn’t care he’s on the prelims.
Werdum hasn’t fought since March 2018 when he was knocked out by Alexander Volkov at UFC London. The veteran Brazilian was then suspended by USADA for two years after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, though the suspension was later reduced to 10 months.
Werdum was set to take on fellow grappling savant Aleksei Oleinik at UFC 250 in his return to the Octagon in his native Brazil, but the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. After UFC president Dana White was able to get UFC 249 back on its feet, the matchmakers re-booked Werdum vs. Oleinik for the new card, though both men will still be fighting on May 9, the date of their original booking at UFC 250. Only now the fight will take place in the neutral United States rather than Werdum’s Brazil.
When the UFC 249 card was fully announced this week, it was surprising to see Werdum vs. Oleinik was on the prelims, but considering how stacked the card is, big names like Werdum, not to mention Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone, had to go to the prelims. Speaking to Combate, Werdum said he doesn’t care about fighting on the preliminary card. He’s just happy to return to the Octagon regardless of where he fights on the card.
“The date is the date I was going to fight in Brazil, at UFC 250. I know that there are many fighters wanting this date for the cancellation of UFC 249 and now everything is right again. They chose me and I was too happy. Despite being in the preliminaries, I don’t really care about that, I would like to be on the main card, but just to be fighting after two years stopped because of the contamination I had and I couldn’t prove otherwise, I want to fight,” Werdum said.
“It doesn’t matter where it is. If it’s the first fight, I’m happy because I’m fighting and I’m leaving. Location is undefined, I know it will be in Florida, but I don’t talk much with the UFC. The speaker is Ali (Abdelaziz), my manager. I was happy to be on the card, it is very important, there is only one fight. I know that if it were in Brazil I would be on the main card, but the most important thing is to be fighting.”
Though Werdum is now 42 years old, the UFC heavyweight division is the one weight class where older fighters often succeed. Though he’s currently not ranked due to his long layoff, a win over Oleinik would get Werdum right back into the thick of things in regards to the belt, which he last held back in May 2016 before losing to Stipe Miocic at UFC 198.
How excited are you for the return of Fabricio Werdum?