Fabrício Werdum will have another hard-to-swallow mission – to say the least – in California come June 26. On the occasion he will have a shot at making history, by beating Fedor Emelianenko. The Russian has not lost in 28 fights – more specifically since December 2000. In an interview published in Gracie Publishing’s MMA monthly magazine NOCAUTE, the Jiu-Jitsu black belt lays out why he has such high hopes in completing this thorny mission so many have failed in. Find out what he has that can bring his mission to fruition.
Know and respect the enemy
“Fedor has already shown the world he’s the man, he’s the very best in the world. At the start of his career no one believed in him, but all he’s done since is win. The most dangerous thing about him is his striking. He’s got really strong boxing. The thing is to not fall into his game plan. Fedor hasn’t lost in years and has stuck to the same game the whole time. He’s been doing it his whole life and no one has managed to defend or neutralize his attacks. He has a really hard right. If the best fighters couldn’t stop him, I have to be smart about it. I have to study everything and see where he’s had a hard time so I don’t fall into his game.
“His strength is standup and mine is Jiu-Jitsu, my cash cow. So I have to look to do my Jiu-Jitsu with him as much as possible so I can get the submission and win as quickly as possible.”
“My head coach is Rafael Cordeiro, who has taken the helm at King MMA here in the United States. In Jiu-Jitsu Ratinho’s been helping me a lot, improving on what I already do well. We may put on the gi, depending on the training we’re doing. It’s really technical work we’re doing. I do my boxing with Justin, who’s taught Andrei Arlovski and Manny Pacquiao. He has a gym in Hollywood and is the man when it comes to boxing. I’m also being helped by Wanderlei Silva, King Mo, Jason Miller and Mark Munoz. We have a really good team over here.”
Exploit the opponent’s characteristics
Among my sparring partners, Vladimir Matyushenko is helping me a lot. He’s been a great help to me because he’s similar to Fedor. Not because he’s Russian, but because of his physical characteristics and game. That’s something I learned from Mirko Cro Cop. When he’s getting ready for a fight, he seeks people with characteristics similar to those of the person he’s going to face.”
“Babalu’s helped me a lot too. He just had a fight, but he was more concerned with my fight than his. He’s faced Fedor before and says he’s really strong and that I really need to watch out for his right hand. He showed me how Fedor carries out his takedowns. He knows what it will be like and told me what can work to win. I just need to concentrate properly, do everything just right and attack at the right time. We train together almost every day and he’s helping me a lot. He’s really concerned with helping me.”
I’m going to change the face of MMA history. A lot of folks don’t believe it, but they better believe that I’m fully dedicated to this fight. And the funny part is that this is the fight I’m calmest about. I’m chill. Ever since the days of Pride when Fedor fought Minotauro, my brother Felipe Werdum has been telling me that I’ll be the one to beat him. My chance has finally come and I’m to show everyone I’m up there with the best of them.”