With UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez putting a definitive end to his rivalry with Junior dos Santos, at least for now, speculation immediately shifted to who is next for the former Sun Devil. UFC president Dana White put an end to the speculation by naming Fabricio Werdum as the next challenger for his heavyweight champion. White made the comments following last night’s UFC 166 fight card.
While White was mum on a possible timetable and location for the event, he seemed to like the idea of the bout headlining UFC 169 on Super Bowl weekend. White stated in the UFC 166 Post-Fight Press Conference that he was going to allow Velasquez some time to heal and think about his next move in the Octagon.
Werdum has won three straight since rejoining the UFC in 2012 after Strikeforce folded their heavyweight division. The Brazilian was last in action at UFC on FUEL TV 10, were he pulled off an incredibly slick submission victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Werdum has firmly held onto the current title shot promise by the UFC.
Werdum was originally promised a shot at the UFC heavyweight title in 2008 but was spurned after Randy Couture returned to the Octagon following a contract dispute. Werdum would instead be shocked by a relatively unknown Junior dos Santos at UFC 90 and elected to join Strikeforce after the loss. Werdum would tallying a 3-1 record for Strikeforce including his 2010 “Submission of the Year” victory over Fedor Emelianenko.