Fabricio Werdum is a man with many accolades. He added a most impressive accolade to his collection by capturing a piece of the UFC heavyweight championship by taking out Mark Hunt at UFC 180 on Saturday night.
Werdum floored Hunt with a well-timed knee and finished him with a batch of follow-up punches midway through the second round of their main event showdown.
But where does such a victory sit with a man that once dethroned the then-reigning baddest man on the planet, Fedor Emelianenko? Was the interim championship victory bigger than a win over the best fighter on the planet?
“Yeah. This is the same thing as Fedor because the Fedor fight was a special fight, but this is a special one,” Werdum told Fox Sports. “I waited a long time ago. I was waiting. I prayed a lot for this moment.”
Although he finished Hunt in spectacular fashion, Werdum had to survive some heavy leather from the New Zealander to get there.
“I knew it was a hard fight because he punched very hard,” said Werdum. “I felt that, but I stayed two months here. Two months I’ve been preparing my body for this moment. When he punched me, (it) wasn’t like I was dizzy or anything.
“The first round he was very strong. He’s a smart guy, a very smart guy.”
But Werdum is smart too. He knew he couldn’t just stand and trade with a man like Hunt; a man with a granite chin and sledgehammers for hands. So he didn’t. He worked and planned for the knee that ended the fight.
“He knows I’m a takedown man. It’s a normal thing,” said Werdum. “I just fake one and boom… timing.”