(Werdum exposing the man behind the curtain)
If you think it was the adrenaline or the endorphins talking when Fabricio Werdum announced during his post fight interview Saturday night that he wanted an immediate rematch with Fedor Emelianenko, think again.
Werdum actually made the claim a couple weeks ago and has since reiterated his desire to fight "The Last Emperor" again — this time on Emelianenko’s home turf — instead of facing Strikeforce heavyweight kingpin Alistair Overeem.
"I don’t want to give a step backwards and fight against Overeem. I want to fight against Fedor from 6 to 8 months from now in Russia, Rocky Balboa style… I believe that the crowd will be with him, but people will respect me and I’ll bring my guys," he told TATAME’s Guillherme Cruz. "I’m sure that the Brazilians can make much more noise than a million of Russians.”
According to the Brazilian fighter, the postponement of the bout, which happened twice, actually worked out to his benefit as it gave him more time to prepare to face the dominant Russian.
"They scheduled it to April, then to May and I didn’t stop training, so, in fact, it ended up being a good thing for me. I was physically great — 100% mentally —
– happy, gathered with my team, my family, my mom, my brother and my sister and the crew that came from Brazil; so the vibe was 100% positive. The guys from the event went crazy because we made a lot of noise," said Werdum. "The Athletic Commission wanted to give us a fine because we were doing a huge mess, we showed our happiness for everybody. [There was] a great vibe, and it was the fight I felt best with myself. I was at ease on the ring, in the dressing room and backstage; it was great."
When asked if the punch that sent him sprawling to the canvas hurt him, "Vai Cavalo" said it didn’t really connect, chalking it up as more of a slip on his part.
"It wasn’t a knockdown, it was more like I lost my balance because of the punch, but I’d go for the ground anyway, so I felt on the ground wanting to go there," Fabricio said. "It wasn’t a knockdown, not at all. I felt the blow, but it wasn’t that strong, I just lost my balance."
Although the method in which the fight went to the ground wasn’t part of his strategy, Werdum says that the end result of Fedor pouncing to join him there after he stumbled was exactly what he hoped he would do.
"What we wanted was the submission, the rest was all part of the strategy to go for the ground as soon as possible, even if he came forward, I wanted to go for the ground. I couldn’t make my mind if I would go for his arm or his neck, I’d go one way, he defended himself, and then I went the other way," explained Werdum. "So that double attack was great, because while he defended his neck, I got his arm and tight the triangle… You can watch the video of the bout and you’ll see that I checked the feet, the shin, the arm, I checked it and I was going to stretch his arm right there. I grabbed his arm and he was about to tap out, but I didn’t work out, so I tightened the triangle and it worked."