Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is hoping to put his name back into the mix for a title shot when he challenges familiar foe Alistair Overeem tomorrow night (Sat., July 8, 2017) at UFC 213 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. While Werdum remains one of the best submission practitioners in all of MMA, the Brazilian heavyweight is confident in his hands entering UFC 213.
"Yeah, I see myself doing really well in the striking department,” said Werdum in a recent interview with Combate. “I've been training with master Rafael Cordeiro for 10 years. I don't mean to brag, but I see I evolved a lot. I would fight Overeem standing up, I see big possibilities of knocking him out. If I see an opportunity, I'll take him to the ground, obviously, to use my jiu-jitsu, but if it remains on the feet, I'll be fine."
While Werdum and Overeem have yet to cross paths inside of the Octagon, the two MMA legends have fought twice before. Werdum won their initial meeting back in 2006 via submission, while Overeem returned the favor with a decision win in 2011 under the Strikeforce banner.
"Our first fight went great. I was able to submit him,” said Werdum. “The second one, I was overtrained, I went too far. I had to two fights cancelled and when the third one came around, I didn't even believe it was going to happen. I couldn't fight because I couldn't find the strength to be on my feet. I was criticized for pulling guard, but it was all I had to save me.
"There's this saying that goes like this 'only jiu-jitsu can save you', and it's true, because I wasn't knocked out or submitted. Jiu-jitsu helped me a lot then. It was a bad fight because Overeem didn't dictate the fight like he was supposed to. He won, but it was a horrible fight, the crowd booed all the time. People tell me I should've kept it standing, but I had no strength. I was a warrior, I had nothing else to do but to defend myself."
If Werdum can build off of his win over Travis Browne at UFC 203, overthrow Overeem at UFC 213 in an enticing trilogy fight, and prove that he’s still evolving at 39 years of age, the Brazilian may very well land a rematch with current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic by the end of the year.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 213 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.