Werdum heaps praise: “Anderson also adjusted the triangle with his hand on his shin”

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Fabricio Werdum featured on the cover of GRACIEMAG 161, now on newsstands, in bookstores and academies across the planet. In this month’s issue the black belt tells a bit of his story and what was vital in his training up until the moment that marks the apex of his career so far, his win over Fedor Emelianenko, when he got the tapout with a deadly double attack from the triangle.

GRACIEMAG.com contacted the Strikeforce star to find out how his recovery from a recent injury is going, and how he recently celebrated his… two birthdays.

“My father’s a military man,” laughs Werdum, recalling the story (first published in GRACIEMAG #98), “So despite my having been born on July 30, 1997, he only registered me on August 24, because it’s a commemorative date for the Brazilian army. My birth certificate says I was born on August 24, but I was born in July! He really did that! If I were to count both my birthdays, I’m 66 years old! So I only celebrate the one in July. The problem was when I’d go to the pizzeria I had to explain my birthday was a problem. To take my friends and not pay my part of the bill, I had to go again on August 24! It made things somewhat complicated, these days I don’t explain that much and just go by the date on my ID.”

Submitting Fedor. Photo: Esther Lin

Check out the conversation with the GRACIEMAG cover fighter:

What did you think of Anderson’s triangle (against Chael Sonnen) at UFC 117, where he also won with a double attack from the triangle? Who has the better triangle, him or you?

(Laughs). You guys are too much! I saw that Anderson, too, adjusted the triangle with his hand on his shin. Everyone saw that I used the double attack, varying between triangle and armbar. So now, for what my win is worth, everyone is aware of the effectiveness of this attack. I feel I motivated folks to do the position.

What happened  in your encounter with Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker after your win at Strikeforce?

He was there to watch my fight with Fedor and then went to visit me in the dressing room. I gave him one of my T-shirts; I was really happy because I’m a fan of his. He told me he really liked my fight, that he knew Fedor was favored to win. He celebrated there with us. A friend of mine shouted, “Werdum time,” then we sang “Forrest time” for him and he jumped around with us. It was really cool. He was surprised by my win, congratulated me.

How is your recovery from the operation on your arm coming?

Recovery is going great. I operated with one of the best specialists and I’m already driving and everything. I do more than two hours of physiotherapy per day. It was no simple procedure; I had to have seven holes drilled in my arm to get out all the detritus. But the doctor did such a good job I didn’t feel any pain. It always hurts a lot after surgery. With this one I didn’t even take painkillers. The doctor gave me a prescription, but I didn’t even need it.

Photo: Esther Lin

Readers who have already gotten their hands on GRACIEMAG 161 have a number of lessons at their disposal. To provide another one to web surfers, what’s the trick to squeezing out the triangle, especially against a fighter of Fedor’s caliber?

The trick to the triangle in MMA? Man, first, if you check out my MMA fight’s you’ll notice that I get hit a lot on the bottom. I even say in seminars not to close the guard. The progressive guard we do these days, with the details we assimilate, facilitates the triangle and the omoplata, among other things. The thing with the triangle is to keep your foot on the guy’s crotch to control his distance. In closing, put your hand on your shin, which helps not to slip. A lot of people don’t do that, but it’s what gives you time to adjust the triangle in the end.

I want to thank GRACIEMAG for the support it gave me. I made the cover of GRACIEMAG and NOCAUTE, everything! I want to thank you guys a lot. I’m going to frame those covers and put them on the wall at my gym for the gang to see. Thanks a bunch!

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