There’s no telling what’s next for the UFC heavyweight division’s crown after UFC 198. Stipe Miocic claimed the title after stopping Fabricio Werdum with a one-punch knockout victory, but there’s no stated top contender from the promotion. While many might point to Alistair Overeem, nothing is official.
That uncertainty, coupled with what he sees as his record of achievement, is why Werdum believes the next course of action for the new champ would be to grant an immediate rematch.
“I don’t think he’s better than I am overall. I think I’m a complete fighter and I showed that in the fight. I was very conscious,” Werdum said at the post-fight press conference via translator. “The right word is reckless,” he said of his performance. “I was a little bit reckless. I had my vision too open. I needed to focus a little bit more on him. Sometimes that happens. Your vision opens and in that moment he hit me and I didn’t see it. It landed on the chin.
“I think the most fair thing would be, I have six consecutive wins. I was the champion. I think the fair thing would be to get a rematch.”
UFC President Dana White was not in attendance and no UFC official commented on Werdum’s statement. While immediate rematches have been granted even in bouts where one fighter was clearly beaten, Werdum’s case for a rematch is historically thin.
“In my opinion, I think that I was the champion until today. I think it would be the most fair, but I never had that problem. It’s not my decision. I’m not the one who decides. I don’t have options. I don’t have to pick one guy. There’s one guy that I’m going to fight and that’s it.
“I think what’s most fair is I’ve been showing for a long time. Six consecutive wins. Obviously, I’m sad. Everybody knows my profile. Everybody knows that I’m not like this, that I’m sad. I think that a defeat is three steps backward and a victory is one step forward.”
As for what did him in, Werdum chalked it up to being sloppy and pushing the fight quicker than it needed to be. Some observers pointed to his jovial attitude during fight week and even his walkout to the cage, but the former champ stated he took everything seriously. His loss, he argued, is not related to that.
“For example, some people were talking about that maybe I was too worried about the happy face or the promotion. It wasn’t that. It has nothing to do with that,” Werdum argued. “People know me and I’m going to be the same. I’m not going to start laughing here because I’m sad right now in defeat, but I’m going to come back better and I’m sure I’m going to retain this belt again.
“I was very well prepared physically and mentally, but I thought that I was attacking pretty well. I think he was better than me, like I said. He was better than me, but I want to fight the sooner the better. Maybe at UFC 200 against him. I know it’d be very difficult, but I would like to fight as soon as possible. He was better than me tonight, but for sure, I’ll win in the future.”
Werdum told the media his next move is to return home to Los Angeles to be with his family and talk to his coaches. He also has to serve out his suspension from the athletic commission for the knockout loss. But like Cat Zingano after losing to Ronda Rousey, Werdum wants a do-over, a chance to fix an obvious and disastrous error.
“I’m suspended for 30 days, but we know with the suspension I can’t train. But obviously I’m going to train. Everyone does it. I know that to fight again I need that time. I need those 30 days. I want to come back as soon as possible. I’m very eager,” he said. “I already had a goal of becoming the greatest of all time. Now I want to get the belt back, so it motivated me even more.”
While it may seem unlikely to others and generally buck trends of how rematches are typically granted, Werdum knows what he wants. He believes he needs just one more chance to make things right and that a rematch is in order. Whether Miocic grants him one, Werdum said, is not up to him. He plans to lobby hard for what he believes he’s owed.
“I know that Stipe Miocic was better than me. I know that he’s not going to accept a rematch, but I know he’s not the one who decides,” Werdum contended. “I know he’s going to want to keep the belt for six or seven months, but I want to fight as soon as possible.”