At each of his destinations, Werdum has been a highly regarded contender in his division and competed with some of the best fighters in the sport.
Now, in a time where StrikeForce attempts to compete with the UFC for promotional power, the Brazilian trains just South of Los Angeles in Seal Beach, CA for a pending bout with Russian powerhouse Fedor Emelianenko .
When asked of the yet to be signed matchup, Werdum says, “I really want the fight. It’s the fight of my life…I dream and think of [fighting] Fedor all day.”
A bout with the Russian juggernaut appears to be the No. 1 priority for Werdum. With the match not even contracted on paper, “Vai Cavalo” is training rigorously in preparation for what is shaping up to be the most important fight of his career. A showdown with, arguably, the best heavyweight in the sports' history is an opportunity at greatness.
Though many write off Werdum as a relevant competitor against Fedor, the two-time Abu Dhabi Submission Wresting champion sees himself as much more. Werdum is confident that a fight with Fedor will work out well for him.
“The game doesn’t match up [for Fedor] because my strongest part is off my back which Fedor likes to ground and pound,” said Werdum when talking about how he stacks up against his pending opponent. “I feel comfortable off my back and that’s what I want. I believe in my jiu-jitsu…I believe I can pull out the victory.”
Werdum sees other avenues to go down when fighting someone the likes of the last Pride heavyweight champion.
“I believe I can tap him out with a rear naked choke and take his neck. I believe his arms and everything else are real slicky…I want to attack his neck. That‘s pretty much the goal.”
Never having been submitted in his career, Fedor has fought off some of the toughest competition and suffered only one loss, resulting from a cut that ringside doctors deemed too big for the Russian to compete with. Since that loss, Fedor has reeled off 28 consecutive fights without a loss.
In this amount of time, Werdum noticed some weaknesses in Fedor’s fighting style and brought in some unlikely allies to help capitalize on them.
“His weakness is probably off his back so I’m going to try and explore that. I’ve been training a lot…my takedowns are really, really good right now. King Mo has helped out a lot.
Come again? King Mo?
“I have a fun time training with King Mo but it’s all about business. The guy brings a lot into my game. King Mo has some of the top wrestling in the world right now. My game is going to be a lot more complete with that.”
Werdum has a lot of credibility in the sport and, apparently, he sees a lot of potential in Mohammed “King Mo” Lawal. If King Mo’s knowledge of wrestling is helping Werdum at all, it will show when the heavyweight takes on Fedor at their rumored bout this Spring.
Looking ahead, Werdum is focused on Fedor but shares his opinion of current StrikeForce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem .
“I don’t appreciate that Alistair still holds the title…he doesn’t deserve it anymore. He hasn’t fought here for two or three years. I’ve already beat him in the past in the Pride GP and I’m going to beat him one more time, but I want Fedor first and if they [StrikeForce] want, I’ll fight Alistair after that.”
Overeem has taken the past three years to fight overseas for organizations such as K-1 and Dream, but has failed in attempting to defend his StrikeForce heavyweight title since winning it in 2007. With no American return on the horizon, Werdum has a strong opinion about who the real champion is and what he would like to do to the current title holder.
“I believe Fedor is the official champion. I’m going to take Alistair’s other arm home with me to Brazil this time.”