Fabricio Werdum has done some great things in his career, but his performance against Alistair Overeem last Saturday night definitely wasn’t one of the highlights. Several days after the event, Werdum has started talking to the press about what went wrong.
For one, he realizes he shouldn’t have pulled guard so many times, as he told ESPN.
“I should have had more faith in my stand-up, listened to [coach] Rafael Cordeiro. Strategically he (Overeem) was better. Perhaps, if I hadn’t pulled the guard so many times, I would have won.”
That said, Werdum’s also frustrated that his opponents aren’t willing to go to the ground with him when he’s willing to strike with them.
“He didn’t want to go to the ground with me at all but it is an MMA fight, you have to do the ground game as well. I think it is funny that [opponents] call me to go at them and I do, but when I call them to the mat, nobody does.”
The funny thing about that is if the fights started on the ground, I doubt Werdum would try to get to his feet so he could go strike with a kickboxer. Just saying.
Rafael Cordeiro told me to keep the fight standing, to trade, and I didn’t give him any ears. I was there fighting, but I don’t know what happened to me, I was not well, it was not my day. My vision was not good, it was too wide, I could see the fans but I wouldn’t focus on (Overeem). I paid the price of not listening to my corner, to not exchange in the fight. For so long now Rafael would say something and I would follow, but I don’t know what happened this time, I did not believe, I was not there, I was on ‘autopilot’. Say what you will about me, but I’m being as sincere as I can be. I messed up, it was not the team, it was me. I did not do what I trained for, I made a tactical error, pulling guard like that was wrong of me to do.
In hindsight, it wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Werdum actually landed more strikes in the fight, but he didn’t listen to his coach because, quite frankly, he was afraid to get knocked out by the K-1 champion. From Tatame:
I was afraid that he’s knock me out, because if he fit a strong punch, well, he’s a K1 champion and all. I was scared he’s hit me and that he guys started to criticizing me for having stroke with him while standing up, I was supposed to do just a little of it, but then take him to the ground. I don’t know, but I was playing on an automatic mode, which was a kind of defense.
If I hadn’t insisted so much on pulling him to the guard, I’d have won the fight. It wasn’t a great fight, but I could win by points because if you check that score, you can see I hit him more time than he hit me. But it doesn’t matter, the Athletic Commission of the United States is formed by Boxing and Wrestling guys, so that counts a lot. So it wasn’t nice of me. I guess I made a mistake too, but it wasn’t my teams mistake because that wasn’t what he have planed to do, it was me. Who knows me, knows it wasn’t really me in there. I was training much better than that, I was doing just fine.
Werdum also mentioned that he injured his knee in the first round, which helps explain why he had trouble getting up from his back flopping in the later rounds. There was concern that it might be something serious and require surgery, however a MRI later confirmed that there wasn’t any significant damage and he should be fine in a couple weeks.
As for Werdum’s next fight, he expects to compete on the next GP card against Andrei Arlovski or Brett Rogers. But hopefully not against Arlovski since their first meeting was the other giant stain on Werdum’s otherwise solid career.