I guess the UFC likes what they've seen from heavyweight Fabricio Werdum.
"Vai Cavalo" (11-3-1) has inked a five-fight contract extension with the UFC that includes a guaranteed title shot pending a victory at UFC 90 over potential opponent Junior Dos Santos (6-1).
"Cigano" would be making his UFC debut - which on paper seems like either punishment for Dos Santos - or a reward for Werdum. After debuting against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 70, the former PRIDE star was pitted against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 80 and Brandon Vera at UFC 85.
He's certainly earned a chance to play the favorite.
Here's what Werdum had to say about his bout at UFC 90, courtesy of Tatame.com:
It’s my last fight under the old contract and with a victory, my first new contract’s fight will be for the title. I deserve that, I’m training hard for that, I wanna be UFC heavyweight champion. A final against Minotauro would be like a dream, it would be great for me, because I fought against him at Pride and it was a great fight, he deserved the victory, and I wanna say that [I'm] fighting for the belt against Minotauro, probably [in] March.
Werdum and Nogueira first battled at Critical Countdown Absolute back in July of 2006 for the chance to advance to the semifinals of the PRIDE 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix. "Minotauro" bested Werdum by unanimous decision in what was one of many outstanding fights that night.
However a rematch is contingent on not only Werdum, but also Nogueira, who makes his first UFC heavyweight title defense against Frank Mir at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter 8. Nogueira and Mir are opposing coaches on the SpikeTV reality series and will likely lock horns on New Year’s Eve weekend.
A win by Nogueira puts him in line to rematch Werdum in Spring of 2009 - unless of course Junior Dos Santos has anything to say about it.