Fabricio Werdum: The UFC's Next Heavyweight Champion

Matt ScottCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2008

With one fight remaining on his current contract, heavyweight title contender Fabricio Werdum has revealed to the Brazilian website Tatame.com that he has already signed a five-fight contract extension with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Werdum, the former PRIDE standout, holds a record of 2-1 since entering the octagon. Rumors are circulating that he could be matched up with the debuting Junior Cigano at UFC 90 on Oct. 25 in Chicago. This will be his last fight under his old contract. With a win, it's likely that he will be the No. 1 heavyweight contender.

Interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir are expected to be fighting on Dec. 27 in Las Vegas. Werdum would be in line to face the winner.

Now, for some of you, Fabricio Werdum is just another name that you can't pronounce. Let me be the first to tell you, in the words of Joe Rogan, "This guy is for real." With wins over Alistair Overeem, Aleksander Emilianenko, Roman Zentsov, Brandon Vera, and Gabriel Gonzaga, his resume speaks for itself.

In fact, his only losses have come via decision. And of his three losses, one is to former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, and other is to former PRIDE heavyweight champion and current UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Quite the mouthful, isn't it?).

Werdum is a two-time Brazilian Jui-Jitsu world champion, 2007 ADCC world heavyweight champion, and European Jui-Jitsu champion. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu and a brown belt in Judo. Up until 2006, he was actually the BJJ trainer to Mirko "Cro Cop."

After his loss in his first UFC match to Andrei Arlovski, he began training at Chute Boxe in Brazil, and became a far more aggressive fighter. He won his next two matches via TKO.

Werdum is now in line for the storybook finish. Assuming that Nogueira beats Mir (which is a huge assumption), and that Werdum beats Cigano, Werdum can fight to avenge his loss for the UFC Heavyweight Championship belt. My only words of advice: Don't bet against Werdum.