Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum clearly can handle himself in the cage, and he’s starting to learn how to do it out of the cage too.
After all, to reach his career goals, it’s sort of a necessity.
Werdum (23-7-1 MMA, 11-4 UFC), who meets Alexander Volkov (29-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 127 headliner, is looking for his third straight victory and hoping to improve to 4-1 since losing his title to current champ Stipe Miocic in 2016.
Werdum, who’s No. 4 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, is a solid favorite heading into the UFC Fight Pass-streamed event at The O2 in London. For him, all is right in the world again.
“I’m very happy to be in the UFC and with my fight purses too,” he told MMAjunkie. “I’m happy to be a company guy.”
That wasn’t always the case. After speaking out against Reebok and the UFC Athlete Outfitting program, Werdum lost a Spanish-language broadcasting gig with the company, though he was recently reinstated.
“Realistically, I have to be a company guy,” he said. “It makes a difference – to fight and defend the company where you work.”
However, in addition to the Reebok issue, Werdum also found himself in an ugly altercation with outspoken UFC welterweight Colby Covington in November (he was initially charged with assault – via boomerang – but ultimately paid a $600 fine and avoided any serious penalties).
Werdum wants to be a guy whom UFC officials can count on, but he doesn’t necessarily regret his dustup with Covington.
“I had some problems with Colby (Covington), who’s an insignificant fighter,” said Werdum, who had a familiar beef with UFC interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson at a 2017 luncheon. “I didn’t provoke him. He’s the one who called me a ‘Brazilian animal.’
“For me, that’s in the past. He’s a nobody. He’s never won anything. He only talks crap. He badmouths an entire country – so he has zero credit. I compare him to someone who first arrives in America with no credit. He’s a guy with no credit. He’s never been a champion. I think he was brave to provoke me like that, but he was also stupid. If it happened in Brazil, I would have beat the hell out of him, so he’d learn to respect another country. But that’s in the past now, as is Ferguson.”
Still, he said he won’t be a target. He’s just not that type of person, he said. And he thinks his bosses will understand.
“I don’t provoke anyone, and I don’t badmouth anyone,” he said. “But if they do it to me, I will answer. I won’t be quiet. My mother taught me that if I get beat up on the streets, I’ll get beat up at home too. So I don’t bring insults home. If someone tells me something, I’ll respond in kind. I never start.
“I even explained this all to (UFC President) Dana White recently. I’m very happy to have my commentator job back. I love doing it in Spanish since I’m fluent. I lived in Spain for several years. I have a Spanish passport. So I enjoy it. I have a lot of fans who were very happy to see me back in the booth. I received thousands of notes supporting me. Latin Americans, also in the United States, supported by return.”
In fact, he was initially irked by a recent booking between Miocic (18-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) and light-heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC). The July 7 fight, which headlines UFC 226, is for Miocic’s heavyweight, and it could delay Werdum’s own plans for a shot to reclaim the belt he once owned.
Still, he’s not dwelling on the negatives. Not any longer, anyway.
“Without a doubt, the business side (of my MMA career) is very important,” Werdum said. “I feel like a company guy now. I understand the organization now. For example, Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier – I understand why they booked that. It’s something the fans welcome – two champions from two weight classes.
“I’m looking forward to watching it or commentating. And if I can fight on the same card, I’ll do that too.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC-London headliner Fabricio Werdum: 'I feel like a company guy now'