Heavyweight Fabricio Werdum had a successful BJJ career before moving to MMA. Having won two world championships at ultra-heavy and two ADCC titles, he traded the gi for the gloves, but he never forgot his roots. The former UFC champion closely followed the 2017 installment of the BJJ World Championship, which reached its climax early this month. Besides seeing old friends, he was there to support his ground coach Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, who won a fifth world title at featherweight. Werdum was reached afterwards to discuss this and more. Read on for his thoughts.
On Cobrinha’s campaign
“I’ve been training with Cobrinha for five years. I know how much he trains and dedicates himself. He spends the whole day at the gym dedicating himself to BJJ. So Cobrinha really deserved this world title.
“I made a point of being with him the entire day at the championship, giving support. His first fight was at 9 a.m.; I arrived at 8:30 and stayed until 9 p.m.
“This year he won the Grand Slam — he became champion at the Brazilian Nationals, the Euros, the Pan and the Worlds. And he did it all at 37! There is no such thing as age; there is only an athlete’s dedication. He is an example to everybody and a great inspiration to me.”
On Buchecha’s campaign
“Buchecha is very strong, very technical and, when he goes on turbo mode, no one can hold him back. He is very well at takedowns and he doesn’t let people get away with scoring on him — he comes back with a vengeance! He is, without any doubt, the best BJJ fighter in the world.”
On Buchecha’s future in MMA
“I saw that he trains boxing, wrestling… He has all it takes to do well in MMA. But it remains to be seen how he will do this transition, because this transition is the hardest there is. Many BJJ fighters did not adapt to MMA. You have to like it; you have to know how to hit and get hit.
“This start is the hardest part, because everything changes, including positions — BJJ has to be adapted to MMA. I think Buchecha is in condition to do well in MMA; he’s got blood in his eyes and is exceptional in grappling. What remains is to know whether he likes MMA. It can’t be an obligation, or migrating to make money, because that’s not gonna work. You have to like it, and, in time, he’ll win a purse.”
Fabrício Werdum is scheduled to fight Alistair Overeem July 8th at UFC 213, in Las Vegas. This will be the third time they butt heads, and a win could mean a new shot at the heavyweight belt for Werdum.
[Based on a press release.]