A key figure in the UFC heavyweight division in recent years, Fabricio Werdum has since moved on to the Professional Fighters League. The Brazilian veteran will make his PFL debut this week against Renan Ferreira, a gigantic compatriot.
Ahead of the bout, Sportskeeda caught up with Fabricio Werdum about his mindset for the PFL scrap as well as his favourite workout song. In this piece, Werdum airs his thoughts on the current UFC heavyweight landscape.
How the UFC heavyweight division currently looks
For those of you in need of a quick update on all things UFC heavyweight, you need to get out from under your rock more. Apologies, I had to get that dig in. Francis Ngannou won the title in March 2021 by knocking out Stipe Miocic in terrifying fashion in the second round. It was Ngannou's fifth successive KO.
A hulking collection of muscles from Cameroon, Ngannou has captured the imagination of UFC fans like few heavyweights before him. His KO power makes victory seem inevitable. Cue Jon Jones, a GOAT contender who has never been finished. He conquered light heavyweight and moved up a division in pursuit of a challenge. Victory over Ngannou would solidify his GOAT credentials.
UFC fans know what an incredible match this would be - and so does Jones. That's what's holding this up. Jones wants a fair cut of the pie for what would surely be one of the most successful UFC events of all time. Dana White knows that doing so could alter fighter pay going forward. Thus, the fight is on ice.
The hope is that this fight will eventually happen. Werdum seems as intrigued as everyone else, appearing to believe Jones is the perfect foil for Ngannou.
Fabricio Werdum's thoughts on Ngannou-Jones
Stipe Miocic won his first UFC heavyweight title against Fabricio Werdum, so the latter knows the former champion intimately. Werdum also knows Ngannou from years of sharing the same division and has a clear respect for Jon Jones.
We asked Werdum if he thought Jon Jones could beat Francis Ngannou. Here's what Vai Cavalo said:
"Ngannou proved that he's very strong. He's like a beast, but I don't think he's a complete fighter yet. He has good stand-up, good power, but on the ground, I think he's a blue belt," Werdum said. "You saw how Stipe Miocic took him down in the first fight. He doesn't move his hips, he doesn't move anything. I don't think he's a complete fighter yet. I believe Jon Jones would surprise everybody and take down Francis Ngannou and stay on top and beat him on points. For sure, Ngannou is very strong. I love his story, that he was homeless before, and that today he is a UFC champion. I love this, man. Before, when I was with the UFC, I didn't like to talk too much because maybe he will be my opponent, but now it's okay. I was very proud of him [Ngannou] when he beat Stipe Miocic. The first time [they fought], I did commentary in Spanish. I spent eight years speaking Spanish for the UFC, official commentary. For the second fight [between Ngannou and Miocic], I saw Stipe Miocic - you know, a very light guy. Very, very light. I saw his face. He had defended the title three times, I think, so... And after that [it was like] he said 'Okay, one more time. If I win, okay, if I don't win, it's [also] good,' you know. I didn't see his hunger for the fight, whereas Ngannou wanted the belt. He trained a lot. He used the UFC PI in Las Vegas. He stayed all day there, he ate every meal there. You would see him there all day because he used everything. He would lift weights, do conditional training, everything. He is, for sure, a strong guy, dangerous, but I believe that Jon Jones can beat him on points."
Catch Fabricio Werdum's PFL debut against Renan Ferreira this Thursday, May 6th. All PFL 2021 Season events are live in primetime on ESPN2/ESPN+ in the U.S. (typically on Thursdays), as well as on leading broadcast and streaming outlets in 160 countries worldwide.