Fabricio Werdum Opens Up On His Decision To Leave The UFC
Fabricio Werdum will try to break his two-fight losing streak this weekend against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC Fight Island 3. But win, lose, or draw, the former UFC heavyweight champion has made the decision to leave the promotion after the match with ‘The Mauler’, which is the last fight on his contract.
Leaving The UFC
Speaking to AGFight, the 42-year-old described his relationship with the UFC, and gave the reason for leaving it after so many years.
“There’s no possibility [of renewing my UFC contract],” Werdum said. “All these years with the UFC have been very good. We had a good relationship. Sometimes there were some controversies, disagreements, things that happen in a normal relationship.
“I am very grateful to the UFC for all these years. I practically made my career in the UFC, I always wanted to enter the UFC. And they gave me that opportunity twice. I was already fired, and came back because I kept bothering them about it (laughs). But the cycle is over. The cycle was good so far. Now I want to pursue my career a little more, and I want to do it my way. Maybe I’ll fight for a different company, I’ve fought for many of them, I want to have choices.”
Good And Bad Times Make Happy Memories
Werdum looks back at his time in the UFC with a smile on his face, and appreciates both good and bad moments.
“This trajectory that I had in the UFC was very cool,” he said. “There were very good and happy moments. Twice champion, I beat Mark Hunt, then I beat Cain Velasquez, apart from other fights too. And I don’t only count the victories, of course I don’t like to lose, but the defeats also made me grow a lot.
“The part as a commentator too, eight years ago as a commentator in Spanish. It was all part of my journey. We had fights, arguments, we didn’t agree on some things, I was fired (laughs). But this has passed, this already passed, now it is a ball forward and I’m just thankful. I can only thank the UFC for all these years of victories.”
Last Fight Against Alexander Gustafsson
Gustafsson and Werdum have history, having sparred together almost ten years ago, both men have very different recollections of how this went. ‘Vai Cavalo’ explained why he picked the Swede as a last opponent in the UFC.
“It is very important [having Gustafsson as an opponent for the last fight in the UFC], and I chose him,” Werdum said. “I had a few options, and I chose Gustafsson because he is a well-known guy. He has a name in the MMA world. He made his name in the 205 division, and I wanted this fight to be important.
“I didn’t want it to be any fight, against a guy who’s just starting. And the most important thing is victory, having a good performance. I’ll do my best, I’m feeling great. I want to go out the front door.”
While Werdum looks back at his time in the UFC with fond memories, there is one thing he would have changed.
“Looking back, I would certainly do something different: fight more,” he said. “I would fight more. I think that at times, I had opportunities to be able to fight, and due to an injury or something else, I couldn’t fight. But there were other times when yes, I could have fought.
“So, if I could go back, I would have fought more. How much? Four, five fights a year. I don’t regret it, but I would fight more often. That’s it.”
Post Retirement Plans
Although he hasn’t announced his retirement from the sport, Werdum shared a few words about his post retirement plans.
“I want to live in Brazil too,” he said. “It is my country, where I was born, I love Brazil. Maybe I can live in Brazil and use my image in another way.
“It would be a second phase of my career, with lectures, attendances – which I do already – seminars, advertisements, doing this and that, suddenly, could be a second phase of my career that I will follow. I like television a lot, I’m not an embarrassed guy when a camera appears, I’m very natural and I really like it.”
Do you think Fabricio Werdum will manage to defeat Alexander Gustafsson in his last fight in the UFC?