Werdum denies retirement rumours

UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has rubbished reports that he will retire if he defeats Cain Velasquez in a rematch at UFC 196 in February. 

Forums and social media in Brazil have been abuzz that Werdum will call it a day if he successfully defends the title he won from Velasquez at UFC 188 in June. But, the 38-year-old has said that this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

“Now that I’m getting rich, why would I retire? No way! I want to make history,” Werdum told Sherdog.com. “I want to be considered the best heavyweight fighter in history by the fans. I started beating Fedor [Emelianenko], [Mark] Hunt, Velasquez – a long list. I was always considered the underdog. So, now I think I’m starting a new phase in my career where I’m not the underdog anymore.

“In the beginning, everybody said that I was a jiu-jitsu fighter. I think I could change that, too, by evolving my standup skills. Of course, I have much more to evolve, but when I see my fights today, I can recognize that I’ve been able to add new skills to my game. So, no way am I thinking about retirement. I’m 38 years old and my body is in perfect shape. I’ve never had any serious injuries, never even taken hard punishment to my head, so I have a lot of stories left to write in that sport.”

Meanwhile, Werdum also believes that Velasquez does not deserve a rematch against him as he “dominated” the 33-year-old and made him submit via the guillotine choke. 

“I respect Velasquez a lot, but the way that fight went, he shouldn’t have an immediate rematch,” Werdum said. “For example, if it’s a split decision or a fast fight – in the case of a 10-year, dominant champion like Aldo — the immediate rematch makes sense. But, the way I dominated [Velasquez] in the standup and then submitted him, I don’t think an immediate rematch is fair.”

The Brazilian added that he would also like to see his compatriot and reigning UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos square off against featherweight champion Conor McGregor in the Octagon. 

McGregor has spoken of his desire to move up to the lightweight division in the past, but the Irishman, who ended Jose Aldo’s five-year reign as featherweight champion in 13 seconds at UFC 194, made it clear that he will only move up should he be allowed to keep hold of his featherweight belt. 

Should the fight between Dos Anjos and McGregor occur, Werdum predicts that Dos Anjos will knock the Irishman out. 

“Actually, it was McGregor who started that challenge,” Werdum said. “I think it would be excellent for Rafael. He defeated [Donald] Cerrone, who’s a really tough fighter, in great fashion. After what he showed against Cerrone and [Anthony] Pettis, I think Rafael will knock out Conor fast and end his cocky style.”