by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Following a rocky time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, capped by a surprising knockout loss to Octagon newcomer Junior dos Santos at UFC 90, Chute Boxe fighter Fabricio Werdum has left the promotion.
Sources tell MMAWeekly.com that Werdum’s exit comes on the heels of a failed contract renegotiation following the loss to dos Santos. The Brazilian came into the fight with the expectation that he would soon be contending for a heavyweight title shot.
The knockout at UFC 90 derailed anything of the like in the near future, and spurred a renegotiation of his contract. Werdum and the UFC were apparently unable to come to an agreement. He has already opened talks with other promotions in the U.S. and Japan.
After losing his opening salvo in the UFC to Andrei Arlovski, Werdum put together back-to-back impressive victories with TKOs of Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera, effectively positioning him as one of the top contenders in the promotion’s heavyweight division.
Current champion Randy Couture faces Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 on Saturday and interim heavyweight titleholder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defends against Frank Mir on Dec. 27 at UFC 92. The winners of those two fights are expected to fight in early 2009, as a unification bout to the UFC mini-tournament.
Had Werdum taken care of business against dos Santos, he was expected to be in contention to face the unified heavyweight champion later in the year. Now it appears he will be moving on to another promotion such as Affliction in the U.S. or Dream or Sengoku in Japan.