Fabricio Werdum hasn’t fought in his native country of Brazil since submitting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira back in 2013.
Saturday night, the reigning UFC heavyweight champion will make his triumphant return, defending his belt against Stipe Miocic at UFC 198.
Unbeaten over his last six fights, Werdum (20-5-1) knows emotions will be running wild when he begins that walk to the Octagon.
“I’m very excited for the fight, in the stadium with 45,000 people, in my country,” he said, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “I’ve been training for four months for this, and my mind and body are ok, everything is great. My mom is going to be there and watch the fight in person for the first time in 18 years.”
Werdum won the unified belt when he submitted Cain Velasquez last June. He’s also bested Mark Hunt, Travis Browne, Nogueira, Mike Russow and Roy Nelson since a 2011 loss to Alistair Overeem.
Many of those battles will have prepared the champion for Miocic, especially his fight with Velasquez.
“Yes, I think the boxing and wrestling are similar. I don’t see Stipe on the ground. I want to see his back on the ground. I’m a black belt in wrestling,” he said. “Yes, my Muay Thai. He’s waiting. I’ve got a big surprise. Not just takedown him. Just fake, fake, I put him on the ground and finish him or knock him down.”
As for how the fight will end, Werdum sees it only one way.
“One hundred-percent Bruce Buffer will be saying, ‘And still the champion,'” he stated.