The hot topic of the moment is who will step in to face Mauricio Rua in the co-main event of UFC 161. That drama is stealing some of the thunder from the fight card that is taking place this weekend, UFC on Fuel 10. True, the June 8 card doesn’t have the name recognition that the June 15 event does, but it does have a very important main event between heavyweight competitors Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Werdum enters the fight as the No. 3-ranked fighter in the UFC’s heavyweight division, while Nogueira is ranked eighth in the division. Despite Werdum’s high ranking in the division, when there is talk about who is on the short list to face the winner of the yet-to-be-booked bout between champion Cain Velasquez and former champion Junior dos Santos, Werdum’s name is rarely, if ever mentioned.
A win over Nogueira, a former Pride and UFC interim champion, may result in Werdum gaining some traction in the title shot conversation. For Nogueira, a win over Werdum, a fighter he has defeated in the past, means he will remain, at 37 years of age, a top-10 fighter in the heavyweight division.
The first meeting between the two took place in Pride. Nogueira had his hand raised after a three-round battle in the quarterfinal round of the 2006 Pride openweight tournament.
Rick J. Lee recently spoke to Werdum’s coach at King’s MMA, Rafael Cordeiro. Cordeiro, who was voted 2012 MMA Coach of the Year at the Fighter’s Only awards, broke down Werdum’s upcoming fight with Nogueira and also discussed when he thinks Werdum will be ready to fight for UFC gold.
UFC on Fuel 10 will take place on June 8 in Fortaleza, Brazil.