Fabricio Werdum won his first major MMA title Saturday night, becoming the interim UFC heavyweight champion after delivering a picture-perfect knee to Mark Hunt in the main event of UFC 180.
While most winners are unsure about what is next, Werdum knows: Cain Velasquez and a match to unify the belts.
Velasquez suffered a knee injury that required surgery a few weeks out from a planned fight with Hunt. He is expected to return in early 2015.
“When he’s 100-percent, I’d like to (fight Velasquez) in Mexico or in my city in Brazil,” said Werdum, during his post-fight interview on FOX Sports.
The first round of the scheduled five-rounder appeared to be dominated by Hunt, as he floored Werdum a couple of times. However, that all just led to the setup for the new champion.
“I faked a takedown and got the knee,” he said. “He knew I was going to take him down, so I faked one.
“This is a special one. I’ve waiting a long time for this one. I’m very happy. He punched very hard. I had two months preparing for this here in Mexico. He was very strong in the first round and he’s very smart guy. I watched him in K-1 and I trained very hard.
Werdum (19-5-1) has won five straight since a 2011 decision loss to Alistair Overeem, and he is 8-1 overall since his first stint in the UFC ended with a TKO loss to Junior dos Santos. UFC president Dana White talked about that moment after seeing Werdum’s performance on Saturday.
“That’s the way it works. You fight in the big show and lose, get cut, go fight in other organizations and make it back some day,” he said. “At the time, I never thought Fabricio would be back, but that’s how it works.”