Flying under the radar of this weekend’s many fights was Fabricio Werdum’s win over Mike Russow at UFC 147. Werdum is now 2-0 since returning to the UFC and says he is ready for a rematch with Junior Dos Santos. Remember that Werdum was finished by JDS back at UFC 90 in 2008. But, Werdum believes he is a new man and he looks the part as well. His striking skills have improved dramatically in his last two fights. With Alistair Overeem on the shelf until the beginning of next year, Werdum could legitimately make a claim to being the #3 heavyweight in the UFC heavyweight division.
But does Werdum deserve a title shot? Its hard to say considering that his two victories since his return have been over Russow and Roy Nelson. Both are not top 5 heavyweights. Clearly, Werdum would take a title shot if he was granted one. But with JDS and Cain Velasquez scheduled to meet later this year, Werdum will likely have to take another fight before he will be given a title shot. The most qualified opponent for Werdum to face at this point would be Frank Mir.
Although Mir lost to JDS last month, he is still a perennial top 5 heavyweight. Losing to JDS doesn’t necessarily hurt Mir in the rankings since everyone loses to JDS. If anything, Mir just hangs in the top 5 which is where he, Werdum, and Overeem are at this point. There are many who believe that Overeem would be given an immediate title shot if he were able to get licensed in the beginning of the year. If that were true, Werdum would probably have to take a Mir fight and then a possible showdown with the JDS/ Velasquez loser before getting a title shot.
I don’t believe Werdum is ready for a title shot just yet but he continues to improve and show growth with every fight he gets. If he were able to get past someone like Frank Mir, then there would be no reason to argue against Werdum getting a title shot. Werdum seems to have shored up his striking skills which was his achilles during his first stint in the UFC. He continues to show more and more confidence in his striking and can still rely on his dangerous ground game if he were to get in trouble. While his striking isn’t JDS level, Werdum’s overall game might be enough to at least challenge for a title. But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves, Werdum will have to face a Mir caliber fighter first.