Fabricio Werdum is the current UFC heavyweight champion, but he will have to beat a familiar foe if he hopes to hang on to his title.
On Wednesday, UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani reported that former champion Cain Velasquez will get an immediate rematch with Werdum, following his loss UFC 188 loss to the Brazilian in June. UFC president Dana White confirmed to UFC Tonight that Velasquez/Werdum II is officially booked, yet a time and place is yet to be determined.
Werdum and Velasquez are certainly not strangers when it comes to being paired together on cards. They were originally supposed to headline UFC 180, but Velasquez suffered an injury, and Werdum instead beat Mark Hunt in an interim title fight.
Werdum finally got his shot at Velasquez at UFC 188 and took full advantage with a guillotine choke in the third round. While Werdum won with that impressive move late in the fight, he controlled most of the pace in the early rounds and ultimately wore Velasquez down on his way to the title.
Interestingly, it didn’t always seem like a sure thing that the rematch would occur. Werdum actually suggested as much when he discussed his next fight with BJPENN.com’s Layzie The Savage (h/t Lewis Mckeever of BloodyElbow.com):
I said a rematch [against Cain Velasquez], but I think the best way is to have 4 guys [fight] for the title shot. Dos Santos, Miocic, Cain Velasquez, and Arlovski. These guys fight each other. Like, Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez, and dos Santos vs. Arlovski. Who(ever) is the best one and fights a good fight, the best performance fights with me, and that’s it.
While that scenario with fights between the four contenders would certainly give Werdum something of an advantage in the fatigue department, fans will instead be treated to a rematch of the UFC 188 showdown.
It represents another major test for Werdum, especially since Velasquez was actually heavily favored in the first match. Still, Werdum took care of business when granted the initial opportunity and appeared to be the better fighter through three rounds.
Now he has to make sure Velasquez doesn’t return the favor.
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