Werdum ended the reign of Cain Velasquez last June at UFC 188, by submitting the latter with a third round, guillotine choke. That fight went down seven months after Werdum bombed out Mark Hunt to become the interim champ.
“Vai Cavalho” was booked to fight Velasquez once again, earlier this year, but after the former champ went down with an injury, Miocic was tapped as a replacement. Then Werdum also pulled out due to injury.
So, here were are, several months later, and finally Werdum will make his first title defense. While speaking to UFC.com recently, the galaxy class grappler had this to say about the delay.
“When I was supposed to fight Cain, I got a little frustrated and upset because he got hurt and I got hurt and the fight didn’t happen, but I believe a lot in energy and believe that this was meant to be,” Werdum said. “Now I’m fighting in my home country, defending my belt.
“I’m very happy and very motivated (to fight in front of a massive Brazilian audience),” the champ added. “This is only the third time the UFC has done an event like this in a stadium and I have the chance to fight for 45,000 people and defend the belt at home. Everybody knows that Curitiba is the fight capital in Brazil and all the tickets were sold (quickly), which was amazing and that’s why I came down here two weeks early to get acclimated to make sure I do a big show for the fans.”
From that perspective, it’s certainly not surprising to hear Werdum say this. It is going to be nuts in Curitiba on Saturday, and Werdum is going to have a tee-un of fan support. It will definitely be interesting to see how the fight unfolds. Miocic fought this past January and needed less than a minute to take out Andrei Arlovski.
UFC 198 will be co-headlined by a middleweight bout between contenders Vitor Belfort and “Jacare” Souza. The card will also feature Brazilian stars like Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Cris “Cyborg”, “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, among others.