The Fabricio Werdum vs. Junior dos Santos II campaign has officially launched. And take a wild guess at who is spearheading the charge.
With the sweat still fresh on Werdum’s freshly-minted undisputed UFC heavyweight title belt, dos Santos is making his play for first dibs.
“#WerdumvsDosSantos2 I’m coming for that belt. Let’s do this Werdum!” dos Santos tweeted late Monday night with the above pic.
Dos Santos holds a 2008 TKO victory over Werdum, but a lot has transpired since their initial UFC 90 encounter. First and foremost, neither is the same fighter.
Werdum has come out of nowhere to emerge as the UFC’s new “Baddest Man on the Planet” after dethroning Cain Velasquez, the previous owner of that moniker, this past Saturday at UFC 188. “Vai Cavalo” has also quietly moved into the conversation of – dare I say – best heavyweight of all time with career highlight victories over Gabriel Gonzaga (twice), Alistair Overeem, Brandon Vera, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Roy Nelson, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Travis Browne, Mark Hunt and now Velasquez.
Sure, you might look at a few of the names on that list and say, ‘Some of those guys suck.’ They might not be box office names today, but they were ascending when Werdum beat them.
As for dos Santos, he won, then lost the UFC heavyweight title from and to Velasquez. He’s received an inordinate amount of punishment in three of his past four fights, which is why the 31-year-old has only performed four times since December 2012. Regardless, prior to Saturday, dos Santos was widely regarded as the division’s best behind Velasquez.
Dos Santos is currently ranked second in the UFC heavyweight division, one spot behind Velasquez. Given the way in which Velasquez lost and his injury prone propensity in the last several years, the UFC will not likely grant him an immediate rematch.
Given his place in the pecking order, winning two of his past three scraps and holding a 1-0 lead on Werdum, Dos Santos seems to be the right man for Werdum to break his gold in against. JDS is certainly selling it that way, at least.
UFC president Dana White has yet to decide who is first up for Werdum.