Fabricio Werdum and business partner and friend and fellow black belt Lucas Pires organized their first Jiu-Jitsu Tournament together at the CSU Long Beach Pyramid, called the Samurai Pro, with 500 competitors signed up and over thirty black belts competing.
Werdum and Pires planned this event over a year ago. They changed the date a couple of times because of Werdum’s surgery and fight schedule, but finally agreed on the May 8th date. “It was difficult to do, but everybody did really good work,” Werdum says, “We were all here until 2:00 a.m. the night before the tournament getting it ready.”
Werdum was pleased with the turnout and says he’s happy to have offered such a great family event for his own family and friends, and also to the Jiu-Jitsu community. “It’s a family tournament,” he says, “It’s just my family and friends who helped organize and run it. Lucas (Pires) is the man!”
Werdum says all the “thanks” needs to go to Pires for putting the whole event together. “I’ve been focusing on my training,” he says, “I want to win my upcoming Strikeforce tournament against Alistair Overeem, so Lucas did everything. I think 500 competitors for your first tournament is really good.”
Werdum called around to his friends and got over thirty black belts to compete at the Samurai Pro as well. Stars like Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, Romulo Barral, Joao Assis, Kayron Gracie, Andre Galvao, Clark Gracie, Ricardo “Demente” Abreu, Philipe Della Monica, Marcel “Lapela” Mafra, Bill Cooper, Antonio Braga Neto, Bruno Antunes, Rafael Dallinha, and Diego Herzog to name a few showed up to support their friend and fellow black belt in his endeavor. Throw in $30,000 in cash and prizes, and that is a formula for success.
“I got good black belts to come,” Werdum says, “All the black belts living and teaching locally came to show their support and compete. Thanks to them for that. I know how busy they all are, but they are all my friends and I am so happy they were here today. I know they are all tired own, but happy.”
Werdum was also pleased with the kids enrollment numbers. “We had 180 kids here competing today,” he says, “It was really good.” The next tournament, Samurai Pro 2, is slated for October 2011.
Werdum himself was tired and preparing to leave on a flight at 7:00 a.m. the next morning after his Samurai Pro tournament to go to Las Vegas to promote his upcoming Strikeforce fight taking place on June 18th in Dallas. “I fight Overeem in the first round of the (Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavy Weight) tournament,” he says, “I’m prepared for it.”
After the Fedor fight last June, Werdum had to take some time off to have surgery on his elbow, but went back to training a couple of months after that and has not stopped training since. “I feel good,” he says, “I feel confident – just like my last fight against Fedor.”
Werdum says his fight against Overeem is going to be even better than that. “I fought Fedor last June and won and now I’m fighting in June again and am going to win again,” he says, “June is my month! I have the same feeling as before, I have the same training camp, the same guys, and the same energy. I’m training with pro fighters, Babalu, Shogun, Munoz, Miller, and others. Krzysztof Soszynski’s conditioning system is amazing! I’m just spending my life training.”
Werdum’s next goal is to win the Overeem fight and then go on to beat the others in the tournament to win the Strikeforce heavy weight belt, but his biggest goal is the unification title. “Everyone told me it wasn’t possible,” he says, “But it’s what I’ve wanted. Everyone said that Strikeforce and UFC were two different shows so it wouldn’t happen, but now with the Strikeforce UFC deal, it’s possible. When I win the Strikeforce heavy weight belt, I’m going to ask Dana (White) if I can try for the unification belt.” With Werdum, anything is indeed possible.