Former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is on the cusp of earning another UFC title fight. When he steps into the octagon on Saturday at O2 Arena in London, England, against Alexander Volkov, his aspirations of getting the belt back are on the line.
Werdum won the heavyweight title at UFC 188 in June 2015. He was defeated in his first title defense by current champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 198, and has been determined to get back to the top of the division. Riding a two-fight winning streak, Werdum believes Volkov is a good challenge for him to prove his championship worth.
“This challenge is a very good challenge for me. I know that Volkov is a tough fighter. He has three fights in the UFC with three victories,” he said during an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports.
Werdum is familiar with the Russian. The two trained together a couple of years ago. Werdum likes Volkov personally, but was quick to point out that training and fighting are two very different things.
“I trained with him two years ago. He helped me with kicks. I helped him and he helped me, too. He showed me a lot of things. I showed him things, but there’s a big difference from when you’re training and when you fight,” he said.
While Werdum is focused solely on Volkov, he also knows that a win on Saturday could punch his ticket to another title shot. At the end of the day, getting back to a UFC championship is his ultimate goal.
“I know he’s a tough fighter. His set-up is very good. His reach is very long. He has good defense on the ground,” Werdum said. “I know this is a very tough challenge for me, this fight. I want to fight more. I want to show more for my next opportunity for a title shot in the end. This is my big goal.”
At 40 years old, Werdum has no plans of slowing down. He wants to be more active and compete three or four times a year.
“My mind is very young. I'm 28,” he joked. “My mind is 28. I'm very young. My body is okay, 40 years old. Maybe three or four more years; I don't know. I've never thought to retire in my mind. I just want to fight.”
(Courtesy of UFC)