By Benjamin Bieker
Fabricio Werdum sat out a good six months longer than he should have just because the UFC wanted him to coach the Ultimate Fighter Brazil opposite of Antonio Nogueira. What was the prize he would get if he did what the promotion asked of him and beat Nogueira? Well, he would be awarded a title shot at whoever held the championship at the time. In this instance, that champion would be Cain Velasquez, but is he getting that title shot? The chances look slim.
Instead of Werdum getting the title shot it will be it will be Junior Dos Santos and Velasquez fighting for the third time. Does that make sense? Not too much when you look at the facts. JDS and Velasquez fought the first time in December of 2011, and they fought again in December of 2012 because there was no other challengers. They could have slipped Werdum in at UFC 146, but he was already locked in to coach TUF Brazil 2. Since their second fight, Velasquez and JDS have only had one fight again before a third fight, and maybe this time JDS should take a second fight before he enters another title fight.
Plus, if you look at Werdum’s credentials his resume may be more impressive than either of theirs since 2009. While both JDS and Velasquez have twice the wins the competition they have fought is not nearly at the same level. Werdum beat Antonio Silva when Silva was just 13-1 in his career, then he went on to submit Fedor becoming the first man to finish him, beat Roy Nelson upon his return, became the first man to stop Mike Russow with punches when he was 15-1, and became the second man to finish Antonio Nogueira via submission. Those are some great wins and finishes in any career let alone in a span of a few years.
At 35 years old, Werdum only has a few years left as a viable contender. JDS and Velasquez are barely 30 years old and could have a rubber match two years, three years, or even five years down the line. So, why does it have to happen now? Werdum could have already had a title shot if it was not for him helping the UFC out and being a coach for TUF. Plus, a match with Velasquez is a new wrench in the heavyweight title picture, and if Werdum beat beats Velasquez he could have an intriguing rematch with JDS four years in the making. Not one year like the Velasquez and JDS fights. The UFC needs to respect Werdum and follow through on their promises. The only way to get that done is to give him the title shot he earned.
What are your thoughts?