by MMAWeekly.com

I am here with Fabricio Werdum

Werdum on Saturday night returns to the Octagon after taking most of 2007 off following
a lackluster defeat at the hands of Andre Arlovski at UFC 70. He makes his
Ultimate Fighting Championship return against Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga at UFC 80
in Newcastle, England.


The loss to
Arlovski was his promotional debut, but it showed none of the promise that he
showed in his Pride bouts against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Alistair Overeem or
Jon Olav Einemo. He looked a bit slow and hesitant to engage.


He has
since made the move back to his home country of Brazil and began training with
the famed Chute Boxe fight team.


“I have
been here for about six months and I am enjoying it a lot,” he said of his
new training camp. “I am training a lot of things that I never trained before.
I have a BJJ background and it was always on instinct.


“Now I am
learning how to kick, how to punch, learning sequences and all the Muay Thai


And the
move isn’t just in preparation for the fight with Gonzaga; in Chute Boxe it
appears that Werdum has found a home.


“My plan is
to stay here for a long time, for the rest of my career.”


His six
months at Chute Boxe have obviously had profound affect on him. Werdum sounds
sure that we won’t see the same fighter that faced Arlovski. Known for a strong
background in jiu-jitsu, he now sounds prepared to confidently take fight
wherever it goes.


“I am more
confident. I can see more the things coming,” he stated of the changes he has
gone through at Chute Boxe. “Now if a punch comes or a kick, I can think way
better what I can do and what I should do.


“But I
think the fans will see my aggressiveness. I always had this feeling in me, but
I was never able to use it. Now I will use it.”


He will
likely need that aggressiveness against Gonzaga. Although this is a rematch of a
fight that Werdum won in 2003, both are different fighters now and Gonzaga,
despite a recent loss to Randy Couture, had won six straight fights between the
loss two losses. Werdum realizes that this isn’t the same fight of more than
four years ago.


“That first
fight was a good fight … but we were almost amateurs. Now will be different, we
have improved a lot since 2003.”


He is
surely not looking past Gonzaga, but Werdum made no bones about his goals,
saying, “My plans are to get the heavyweight belt in the UFC. I have this fight
with Napao and two more fights on my contract, so I want to fight one more
fight and after that get the UFC belt.


“After that
I want to revenge my losses, ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira, Arlovski and Serge