VENICE, Calif. – Heavyweight mixed martial artist Fabricio Werdum is playing the waiting game.
Since losing to Alistair Overeem in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Gand Prix in June, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has kept a pretty low profile. All was quiet until UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub mentioned during a recent interview that a good fight for him would be one with Werdum.
At that point, camps began to call each other out. “I would definitely take that fight,” Schaub told MMAWeekly Radio on Tuesday. Werdum took to Twitter to air his grievances, expressing a desire to fight the former football player. “Anytime, anywhere,” he said on the social media website.
Both are obviously intrigued by the idea of fighting each other, especially the Brazilian. Werdum sees this as a great opportunity to return to the UFC after getting knocked out of the organization (literally) with a devastating loss to current no. 1 contender Junior dos Santos in 2008.
“I really liked it when he said that,” Werdum told MMAWeekly.com. “Brendan Schaub is a good fighter with a good name. I think that’s going to be a good opening to be back in the UFC.”
The two fighters briefly crossed paths in the gym last week during a visit to Mark Munoz’s facility in Lake Forest, Calif. Though there was little interaction, Werdum believes the desire for Schuab to fight him stems from watching the Brazilian train in the Southern California gym.
Schaub perhaps saw what him training and was certain Werdum was someone he can manage in the Octagon. Werdum says he doesn’t feel disrespected, but at the same time feels like Schaub is undervaluing his skill set.
“Maybe one of the things is that he underestimates me,” said the Brazilian. “He probably saw my training and thinks that he can handle me in the cage.”
But while Schaub stands as the most vocal candidate for Werdum’s return fight in the UFC, a third match with former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem sits in the back of his mind.
The two split their previous bouts and are evened out on paper, but Werdum sees it differently. Overeem might have won a decision in June, but the first match-up was decisively taken by the Brazilian with a submission win.
The last time in the cage didn’t convince Werdum that the massive heavyweight striker is better than him. After claiming a dislocated knee in the second round of their last fight, the grappler believes he and Overeem owe it to the fans to scrap one more time.
“One of the things I have in my mind is fighting Overeem again,” he said. “Our last fight didn’t end up the way I want. I hurt my knee really bad in the second round; my knee dislocated… That made me lose my focus.
“Each of us has one victory, but my victory was by submission and his… was not that convincing.”
Overeem is currently slated to take on former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lensar at UFC 141 in December. If all works out in his favor, Werdum will get a call to fight Schaub on the same card, and once he gets done there, he’ll get his third run-around with Overeem.
But no calls have been made for match-ups at this point. UFC president Dana White did not have a comment on the situation and said that other things were taking priority of Werdum’s return.
The waiting game continues and Werdum sits patiently for his next MMA fight. It looked as though he was going to fight in Strikeforce again, but things just didn’t work out that way.
According to a source within his camp, Werdum was lined up to fight one of the losers of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-final. A bout with either Sergei Kharitonov or Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was proposed for the Dec. 17 card in San Diego, but things never came to fruition.
In addition, rumors of a proposed Shane Carwin fight were put to rest. On top of Carwin going through back surgery that will keep him out well into 2012, Werdum’s side was never offered the fight, according to the source.