Winning, and the ecstasy of victory, only lasts for mere moments in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). Whether it is a legion of fans begging to know when their hero will return to the Octagon, or the promoter announcing the victors' next match up at the post-fight press conference, MMA fighters rarely have a chance to rest on their laurels.
For interim UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, his satisfying knockout victory over Mark Hunt at UFC 180 this past Saturday (Nov. 15, 2014) will only grant him a short respite before the focus returns to UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Werdum was initially set to take on Velasquez at UFC 180 in Mexico, but an injury to the champion allowed fan-favorite Mark Hunt to get a crack at the interim belt against Werdum on short notice. "Vai Cavalo" had everything to lose in Mexico, but ultimately he pulled off the victory with one of the best knockouts of the year (highlights here).
Now that Werdum did his job in defeating Hunt, he will have to wait for Velasquez to get cleared by a doctor before unifying the titles. With the UFC heavyweight champion expecting to return in March, fight fans could look forward to seeing Werdum and Velasquez throw down in the main event of UFC 185 or 186 in 2015.
Of course, with Velasquez's spotty history of injuries, there is a viable chance that "Vai Cavalo" could be defending his interim title prior to his anticipated match up with Velasquez. In fact, Dana White noted that if Velasquez incurs another serious injury prior to a bout with Werdum, the UFC heavyweight champion could be stripped, making Werdum the undisputed titleholder.
If that is the case, then Werdum would likely take on the winner of the UFC on FOX 13 main event between former foe Junior Dos Santos and rising contender Stipe Miocic. Of course, if Dos Santos defeats Miocic, he would be looking to knockout Werdum once again in their rematch to become UFC champion for the second time.
At this point in time, Werdum must wait and see whether or not Velasquez can make the trek to the Octagon 100-percent healthy. If not, he can expect to become the undisputed champion, defending his belt against either Dos Santos or Miocic in early 2015.