Fabricio Werdum is willing to earn his shot at UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, even if it means taking a risky fight against a hot prospect in Travis Browne.
Speaking again with Cruz, Werdum said he is ready to get back into action in early spring, and the UFC has lined up a bout against Browne to determine the next challenger to Velasquez's crown.
Regarding the matchup, Werdum said:
We don’t have a date 100 percent confirmed yet, but I believe it's going to be in March. I already know that it’s going to be a main event, so it's a five-round fight. He doesn’t have a good cardio, so that’s good for me. He's explosive when the fight starts, tries to finish it quickly, with jumping stuff and knockouts, so I see a lot of openings to defeat him.
Werdum was previously cut by the UFC in October of 2008 after suffering a brutal knockout loss to Junior dos Santos, but he rattled off four solid performances in Strikeforce from 2009 to 2011 that earned him another shot inside the Octagon.
Rejuvenated and motivated, Werdum has gone 3-0 since returning to the UFC, racking up impressive, dominant victories over Mike Russow, Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the process.
Meanwhile, his upcoming opponent, Browne, forged an impressive winning streak of his own.
In 2013, Browne went 3-0, with all three victories coming via first-round knockout. This run netted the Hawaiian fighter MMAJunkie.com's Breakthrough Fighter of the Year award and planted him firmly in the title picture.
Before squaring off with Werdum, however, Browne needs to re-sign a deal with the UFC, but his representatives feel the contract negotiations are all but a done deal (h/t MMAjunkie.com).
Who do you think wins this matchup between Werdum and Browne (and how)?
Is Browne's recent run of violence a sign of things to come, or will Werdum halt his momentum in dramatic fashion?