We relayed the news that Cain Velasquez had pulled out of his scheduled UFC 196 heavyweight title bout against Fabricio Werdum, and that Stipe Miocic would replace him in that bout. However, now Fabricio Werdum told MMAFighting’s Guilherme Cruz that he will not be fighting at UFC 196.
“I was already injured,” Werdum told Brazilian journalists on Monday. “I have a foot injury, and haven’t been able to throw kicks in training for two weeks. I would still fight Cain because I was injured the last time, but I also hurt my back last Friday. I went to the doctor, tried to continue training, but couldn’t spar as I should spar.”
“I decided not to fight because I’m not 100 percent,” he continued. “If Cain was the opponent, I would go on. It’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. You can’t avoid them. I have no option. I made this decision because I’m not feeling 100 percent.”
It’s interesting that Werdum would continue to fight if Velasquez was the opponent. If Velasquez hadn’t mentioned that he was injured, how would Werdum feel confident to continue fighting but then decides to pull out with Miocic being named as the replacement? It could be that he felt more confident because he had already done battle with Velasquez and would be more familiar with what he brings to the fight.
Miocic just fought a couple of weeks ago and won his fight in less than a minute against Andrei Arlovski. He would have had a very short fight camp. He fights in a similar style as Velasquez as well, a guy with a wrestling base that puts combinations together pretty well on the feet.
“It took me a long time to get here and win this belt, be the champion, to throw everything away because I’m not 100 percent,” Werdum said. “I have to think about everything now, I can’t think and act like I did when I was 20. It’s not like that anymore. Everything changed. I’m 38 now, and I feel I’m at the best moment of my career, and I can’t risk my career because of pride.”
I can understand that point of view, stay tuned to see what happens with the rest of UFC 196.