Now that Fabricio Werdum is the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion, the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) has painted a target on his back.
"Vai Cavalo" claimed the 265-pound title after dominating and eventually submitting former division kingpin Cain Velasquez this past weekend (Sat., June 13, 2015) at UFC 188, which went down in Mexico City, Mexico (video highlights here).
Of course, as the old adage goes, winning the belt is one thing while defending it is quite another. And with plenty of worthy contenders ready to get first crack at the crown, Fabricio has a tough road ahead of him. One man ready to get his hands on the Brazilian is Alistair Overeem, the last man to defeat "Vai Cavalo" nearly four years ago.
Appearing on The MMA Hour, Overeem talked about Fabricio's resurgence and how he believes he can expose the new-champ's many weaknesses.
"First of all, big kudos to Werdum. He's made a great development as an MMA fighter. He's always been tricky, he's always been persistent with his black belt in jiu-jitsu skills. But, now he truly is a stand-up warrior and he is an all-around MMA master. He has shown great stuff. The heavyweight division is entirely wide open now. I fought Werdum and had an excellent performance, but I also don't think Cain had a good performance. Usually, cardio is Cain's weapon. But yeah, it looked like the high altitude was bothering him, and of course the ring rust. He didn't fight in two years. So, it was something you could expect. Werdum is off a win streak, fighting every couple of months. Cain did not fight in two years, and I don't think it's clever to not understand the high altitude thing. Wrestlers in the U.S. know about that stuff, so maybe he underestimated it, I don't know."
When asked how he would fair against the new champ, Overeem didn't hesitate to say he would defeat the Brazilian, just like he did four years ago under the Strikeforce banner.
"He's the same guy, but he has evolved. I've evolved, too. And to answer your next question if I think I can beat him, yes, I do think I can beat him. I have been following his progress throughout the years and I can say that I am very hungry to fight him. I definitely do see weaknesses with him. He's a great athlete, he's doing great at the moment, but he has weaknesses and I feel I am the guy that can expose those."
Naturally, "The Reem" didn't divulge the "several" weaknesses he sees, wisely keeping his observations to himself.
As far as a potential rematch against Werdum, Overeem said he's not sure where he stands in the title picture; however, he did reassure fight fans that if UFC comes calling with a title shot, he'll be ready to answer in a heartbeat.
Currently, the former K-1 champion is on a two-fight win streak with victories over Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson.
A big negative for Alistair, however, is that he is currently sitting at the No. 9 spot on the official UFC rankings list. And with his training partner, Andrei Arlovski, currently on a tear, the striking Dutchman will likely have to see if his teammate can first dethrone the Brazilian.
In the meantime, perhaps a long-awaited showdown with Junior dos Santos -- or another top contender -- could keep Alistair busy.
Or maybe even a fight against Velasquez?