UFC president Dana White on Thursday confirmed that the winner of Saturday’s main event between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne will be punching his ticket to Mexico for a shot at UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Werdum had already earned a shot at Velasquez. But with the champ moving to the sidelines for what will likely be more than a year by the time he fully recovers from shoulder surgery, the Brazilian opted not to remain inactive.
He instead headlines the UFC on FOX 11 fight card in Orlando on Saturday opposite Browne, who has been blazing his path through the division.
It has been known for some time that the winner would get a shot at Velasquez, but White on Thursday confirmed that the plan is for that fight to take place in Mexico.
“Is the winner (of Werdum vs. Browne) fighting in Mexico? Yeah,” responded White during Thursday’s UFC on FOX 11 pre-fight press conference.
“As long as Cain’s recovery is on course then the fight will be in Mexico.”
Velasquez had successful shoulder surgery in December, but with several months of recovery and rehabilitation following the operation, the champ is currently still working to get healthy enough to return to training, let alone fighting.
He is now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’m towards the end of my rehab right now, more so trying to get that strength back. Still can’t train yet, but hopefully the doctor will clear me soon,” Velasquez told a group of reporters in Dallas at UFC 171 in mid-March.
A rough target right for his return is somewhere around November.
“I think November sounds good. I think with rehab and everything else that would give me time to get ready,” Velasquez added.
White has frequently said that the UFC wouldn’t go to Mexico without Velasquez, but if all goes well, it sounds as if it will happen later this year.
“As soon as he’s ready, we’ll do it,” White said. “We’re ready as soon as he’s ready. We can go to Ireland without Conor McGregor, but going into Mexico without Cain would be silly.”