UFC 198 Features Potentially Greatest Heavyweight In MMA History
Saturday May 14th UFC 198 will be live from Curitiba, Brazil which is the home nation of UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum. Werdum has taken an unorthodox path to the top of mountain to become champion after being cut from the UFC in 2008 after going 2-2 in MMA's premiere organization. Werdum who was an eight time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gold Medalist in International Competition was suddenly on the outside looking in. He then went to Strikeforce to continue fighting and earned a 3-1 record fighting the biggest names in MMA outside of the UFC at Heavyweight, earning himself another shot at the "Premiere League" of MMA.
Since rejoining the UFC in 2012, Werdum has compiled a 6-0 record gaining wins via Technical Knockout or Submission in 4 of those 6 fights. UFC VP of Public Relations Dave Sholler joined The Sports Bash on Friday to discuss the magnitude of Werdum fighting Saturday night:
"Fabricio Werdum is probably, with a win on Saturday night, the greatest Heavyweight in our sport's (Mixed Martial Arts) history. He'll have had wins over Cain Velasquez, Fedor Emelianenko, he's beaten Travis Browne, (Antonio) Minotauro Nogueira, Mark Hunt, this guys is just been murdering the division. And here's the best part, his skills continue to get better; primarily a jiu-jitsu player, very very well accomplished on the ground, at 38 years old he has really, working with Rafael Cordero a famed coach out of California, refined his striking game and become a complete Mixed Martial Artist."
Of those five names Sholler mentioned, three of them are multiple time MMA Champions (Velasquez, Emelianenko, and Nogueira). So at 38 years old, Werdum is writing himself into the history books.
Also UFC 198 two more Brazilians fighting in their home country who are decorated former MMA Champions are facing off for a title shot. Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort at 39 years old is making one final push towards winning another title as he is the number three ranked Middleweight.
He faces off with Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo "Jacaré" Souza who is currently the number two ranked Middleweight. Belfort vs Souza is a major contrast of styles as 18 of Belfort's 25 career wins have come by Knockout or TKO while 16 of Souza's 22 wins have come via Submission. It's Mixed Martial Arts Ultimate "Striker vs Grappler" matchup.
Dave Sholler confirmed on The Sports Bash on Friday that the winner of Belfort vs Souza will be the number one contender to face the winner of the UFC 199 Middleweight Title Fight between current UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold vs former Champion Chris Weidman.
Checkout what Sholler had to say about the debut of Cristine "Cyborg" Santos at UFC 198, what fight he thinks might steal the night, and he answers questions about reports of Zuffa's sale of UFC and the future of Conor McGregor