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Fabricio Werdum: the worst UFC underdog on the planet

Few underdogs could claim they are the baddest man on the planet. Fabrice Werdum is the astonishing exception to this rule. The new UFC heavyweight champion shouldn’t even have had to face the underdog label after some big wins leading to his victory over Cain Velasquez. He had done a lot to at least be seen as a threat to win Velasquez’s belt, but respect is obviously tough in the UFC.

Werdum is no stranger to rocking the MMA world, having subdued legendary Fedor Emelianenko in 2010. The new UFC champion got the credit at the time for beating the seemingly invincible Fedor, but much the saw it as a fluke and others said Fedor was in decline. This despite the fact that Fedor was considered by most experts to be the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world at the time. Yes, the tall Russian lost two more fights right after his loss to Werdum, but it was Werdum who got it first. It counts for something in my book. It is much easier for a fighter to topple a legend once he has cracks in the armor. It’s a little harder to beat a man who was leading a winning streak dating back to 2000!

Werdum went on to grab victories over Mike Russow and Roy Nelson once he returned to the UFC after Strikeforce. Nelson may look like a member of the Duck Dynasty family in bad shape, but he’s a damn good fighter. Werdum’s next victim as he rose through the UFC ranks was the legendary Minotauro Nogueira. Werdum submitted him in the second round to stage a big fight with rising star Travis Browne in 2014.fabricio werdum hard win bulge on cain velasquez ufc 2015Browne was billed as a new age MMA badass that other fighters were going to have to adapt to in the Octagon. The guy was undoubtedly fierce and probably took Werdum a bit lightly. Once everyone around you, including MMA experts, tells you how awesome you are, you start to believe your own hype. Fabricio Werdum didn’t have to worry about anyone praising him. No one believed he would beat Travis Browne and no one was telling him how awesome he was 24/7. It could have made the difference in this career change fight. Werdum was a hungry dump dog. Travis Browne was also hungry, but forgot he had to take the matter right in front of him instead of looking to bigger names. Werdum simply beat Browne for five full laps, leaving no doubt in the minds of the judges.

This victory over Browne paved the way for a battle against Mark Hunt for the interim UFC Heavyweight belt. Once again, Werdum delivered as he TKO’d Hunt in the second round after a vicious knee kick to the face, then some ground and pound to wrap up the interim title.

Everyone was proud of Werdum, 37, at the time. There was a lot of patting on the back and “attack boys.” However, there was no fear that the interim champion would ever become the true UFC heavyweight champion. Everyone thought that once Cain Velasquez recovered from his injury, he would put an end to this underdog on top of the mountain. People felt like Werdum had been a nice little story, but reality should catch up with him, as it does with most other Cinderella stories.

From small NCAA tournament schools that run great runs only to finally get kicked out of the big dance, to boxers who fought hard for a few rounds to get knocked out once the champion realizes he’s in for a real game. fight. The clock still strikes at midnight and the fairy tale ends. Werdum intended to take his fairy tale beyond midnight, and did so as he forced Velasquez to admit that Werdum was the meanest man in that octagon as he begged for mercy. With this guillotine choke, Fabricio Werdum became the true UFC heavyweight champion and the baddest underdog on the planet.Fabricio werdum outsider ufc 2015 picturesWe have no idea how long Werdum can hold the heavyweight belt. He’s already endured tough fights to reach the top and he’s obviously not getting any younger. The competition won’t be any easier as Junior Dos Santos is in second heavyweight spot and of course Velasquez will get a rematch in the near future.

Hopefully this outsider story doesn’t end Buster Douglas style with Werdum getting fat and embarrassed in his first title defense. I don’t see that happening, but no matter what happens next, Fabricio Werdum has left his mark on the UFC forever. It would have been easy to hang up a few years ago after disappointing losses, but that’s not what the champions do. They stand up from their situations, making no excuses along the way.

The greatest underdog of all time was Muhammad Ali as he shocked Sonny Liston along with the rest of the world. Ali enjoyed decades of brilliance after losing his status as an underdog. No one can expect Werdum to come close to what Ali did as a champion. But however successful Werdum may be going forward, that will be just the icing on the cake. The guy has nothing more to prove, but I hope he’s still hungry as hell so we can see more of this perpetual underdog.

Highlights of Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum


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