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Fabricio Werdum: “I feel like I’m ready to fight for the belt.”

Fabricio Werdum: “I feel like I’m ready to fight for the belt.”

UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum was on the cusp of contendership a little less than five years ago when he encountered a fresh-faced Junior dos Santos, losing the fight and his spot on the company’s roster shortly thereafter. This weekend, Werdum will face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the main event of UFC on Fuel 10 with a similar set of circumstances minus the debuting future champion, as he’s currently riding the momentum of consecutive wins over Mike Russow and Roy Nelson.

In a conversation with MMAJunkie, the 35-year old Brazilian explained he was confident a convincing performance against his seasoned countryman would cement a shot at the title with the added bonus of avenging a 2006 stumble to Nogueira involved as well.

“He’s a fighter with a lot of history, and he continues to make history. He’s not just any fighter. He’s a very special guy. Beating him would mean a big step forward,” said Werdum. “I see myself with the top fighters. I don’t usually go by rankings. I try to guide myself by what the fans say. I feel like I’m in the top five in the world in the division. I feel like I’m ready to fight for the belt.”

Werdum holds a 16-5-1 mark in MMA including finishes of Gabriel Gonzaga, Alistair Overeem, and Fedor Emelianenko. Comparably, Nogueira is 34-7-1 with an impressive 21 submission wins to his credit.