The third meeting between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos ranks as one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts of 2013, and it’s a given that Fabricio Werdum will be watching the UFC 166 headliner with more than a passing interest. In an interview with Sherdog.com, “Vai Cavalo” gives his thoughts on waiting out a title shot, who wins October’s heavyweight showdown and what a movie about his career might look like.
Junior dos Santos challenges Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight title at UFC 166. Would you be willing to wait for the winner?
The UFC did not tell me anything, but if I have to wait for the belt, I wait. I know I'll be more or less waiting seven months, because they will fight in October, smf then I would fight the winner by February. But it would be worth the wait for the chance to fight for the belt. At least I'll have more time to train, refine my wrestling and jiu-jitsu, train more with Rafael Cordeiro, with Rubens Cobrinha. I would like to fight in October. I thought I was going to face Cormier, but I hope to face the winner of Velasquez and Cigano.
Will you compete at the ADCC during your time away?
I have three functions in the UFC: I'm a fighter, but I’m also a UFC commentator for Latin America since I lived a long time in Spain and speak fluent Spanish. Due to this I am an ambassador for the UFC in Latin America, where I travel explaining how the sport works. Commentating helps me even more to know my enemies, because I cover their fights. As I result of having these occupations I will not compete at the ADCC.
Were you frustrated by the fact that Daniel Cormier was scheduled to face Roy Nelson?
No. .. I've had a conversation with Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White, but I cannot say what it was. I think the fight between the two has already opened some paths for me.
Will you begin training after Velasquez and dos Santos square off on Oct. 19?
Actually, I have to prepare myself to fight on Oct. 19. Of course we do not want anything to happen to anyone, but it happens from time to time. Injuries occur, anything can happen. I have to be ready. I will be cageside to call the fight, with my fightwear underneath. I’m ready for anything -- just call me to take my blazer off and go in [laughs].
Will you call the fight with your gloves on as well?
Yeah, gloves and mouthguard by my side [laughs].
Since you will be there to call the fight, have you considered the possibility that you might be asked to come into the Octagon for a faceoff with the winner?
I had not thought about it, but it's a good idea! If I was announced as the new challenger there at the time, that would be excellent. Of course we do not want to take the shine off the winner, but if they call me, I will go up there.
And you think that this will be against Velasquez or dos Santos? Who do you see winning the fight?
If dos Santos sticks to his game and finds a rhythm in the first round, he could win by knockout again. From the second round and beyond, I see Cain taking control, growing stronger with time. It's amazing the way the Velasquez fights considering that he is a heavyweight; he maintains a strong pace throughout the fight.
Do you have a preference between the two?
Of course I want a rematch against Cigano, and I think one day it will happen, for the belt or not. After leaving the UFC, I had the fight of my life against Fedor, and today I think I'm very different from the guy who was knocked out by Cigano [in 2008]. However, a fight against Velasquez I think would sell even better. Not that the Cigano fight wouldn’t do well -- especially in a stadium in Brazil -- but a fight against Cain would be in Las Vegas and would be seen by the MMA world. Additionally, Cain represents Mexico and Latinos in the U.S., and I have this job as ambassador for Latin America. So it would be a fight that would affect a lot of the Hispanic market. Imagine this fight in Mexico? I see many Latinos on Twitter asking for this fight. So I do not have a preference between the two.
Would becoming UFC champion be the greatest achievement of your career? Or is the victory over Fedor Emelianenko still the best?
No, the fight with Fedor was the greatest of all. Nobody believed in me except myself and my team. Of course I wanted to be the one to beat Fedor, I wouldn't lie about it, but being the first was special. For that fight we even thought about how sweat [would be a factor]. To get a submission at the beginning would be better because he wouldn't have much sweat and it would be easier to catch. That fight was not for a belt, but it could be worth [much more]. It’s part of MMA history, and afterward people began to know more about Fabricio Werdum. They knew about me before, but then I turned into "the guy who beat Fedor." But my goal is to be the UFC champion; that is my goal today. I hope to make a movie of my life after I retire, taking advantage of the fact that I'm in L.A., and I’m sure this fight [with Emelianenko] would be featured prominently. I want to show my departure from the UFC, the victories in other events and the comeback, and then returning to the UFC on my own merit.
And on the poster for this dream film, would be you submitting Fedor or holding the UFC belt?
This is a good question. It would be a combination of the triangle armbar on Fedor as well as me with the UFC belt, the two images side by side.
Alan Oliveira contributed to this report