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Fabricio Werdum eyeing UFC title-shot after Strikeforce Grand Prix

With wins in his last three fights and an opportunity on the horizon to run his streak over notable opposition to six in a row, in addition to the UFC’s recent acquisition of Strikeforce, heavyweight Fabricio Werdum’s return to the Octagon at some point in the future seems to be a given.

The thought is not lost on Werdum who went 2-2 in the promotion before being bounced in October 2008 as he recently revealed in a conversation with Tatame where he discussed his current mindset including an interest in not only going back to the UFC but avenging his loss against Junior dos Santos, a defeat the Brazilian said he was ultimately thankful for.

“That time ‘Cigano’ defeated me it was the first time I was knocked out…I had been defeated before, but on a judge’s decision. This was the only time I was knocked out,” Werdum said of his performance at UFC 90. “He went there and proved himself to be pretty good. I want to win this Grand Prix – to earn a belt because I’ve never won one – and fight the UFC’s champion. If it’s (Dos Santos), I’d be a dream coming true. To do this unifier fight and against ‘Cigano’, a rematch, it’d be perfect.”

Ironically the knock out actually served as a wake-up call for Werdum who used the loss as motivation to improve himself as a fighter. Ten months later “Vai Cavalo” made his Strikeforce debut and hasn’t looked back since with opening round submissions of Mike Kyle and Fedor Emelianekno in addition to a Unanimous Decision over Grand Prix semi-finalist Antonio Silva.

Werdum will attempt to join Silva in the next round of the organization’s heavyweight tournament on June 18 when he faces devastating striker Alistair Overeem in Dallas, Texas. Though the two were originally set to scrap in April, and the delay will result in a twelve-month hiatus from the ring for Werdum, the 14-4-1 submission-specialist has maintained a positive attitude in regards to the situation even if he hasn’t been a fan of all the time off.

“These things happen, it happens to everybody…I don’t think it’s a bad thing to happen – it was supposed to happen this way. It’s like what happened to me when I left UFC and then I beat Fedor up, so it was supposed to happen…I believe it was meant to be this way and we’ll wait. I had slowed things down on the training, but I’m speeding things up now…I’ve beat him once and I want to do it again and prove the world I’m among the top athletes.”

“It’ll be an exact year since I last fought,” he continued. “And in my mind June is the month in which I beat Fedor so it’s my month, it’s a special month, so that’s my thought.”

Werdum may be onto something as the 33-year old is 3-0 in his career during the month of June including his professional debut in 2002 and a first-round TKO of Brandon Vera at UFC 85. However, whether or not he can make it four straight remains to be seen as Overeem has evolved into one of the sport’s most formidable heavyweights since falling to Werdum at a PRIDE event in 2006. That being said, Werdum was also quick to point out he isn’t the same fighter he was back then either.

“I’m training a lot so I can defend myself from Overeem’s (attacks), because he’s strong (and) everybody’s saying he’s evolved a lot, but I have also evolved. People say Overeem is on a good (win streak), but so (am) I. Since I left UFC I’ve only won, so he (may) have evolved but so did I. I don’t keep thinking about my opponent. Of course I watch the fights, I watch what he’s done – I have to know what he’s good at, I have to know his weakness – but I mostly worry about my training.”