Coach says that Fabricio Werdum always will beat Cain Velasquez

BY Elias Cepeda • June 17, 2015

After beating some of the best heavyweight MMA fighters of all time by submission, is new UFC champion Fabricio Werdum the best big man to ever compete in the sport? His coach Rafael Cordeiro says it would be immodest to use that phrase, but that his student's accomplishments speak for themselves.

"I would be too cocky if I call him the best of all time, but I can say Werdum beat all the heavyweight myths," the Kings MMA coach recently told Guilherme Cruz.

"He beat Fedor, he beat 'Minotauro', and he beat Cain. They are legends of the sport, and Werdum beat them all. He submitted the three best heavyweights in the history, and he's at the top of the world today."

Before most, if not all, of these fights and more, few outside observers picked the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt to win. Being an underdog was precious fuel for the fighter and his team, however.

"That keeps you motivated. You want to prove them wrong," Cordeiro explained. "But the important is that we believe in our work, our families believe in our work. People doubt because they don't follow your work every day, so they have no information on what you are doing. We talk because we know, we see what the athlete is doing every day."

Part of that hard work and dedication was making sure that Werdum could fight at his best for as long as he needed to at the extreme altitude of Mexico City, where he beat Cain Velasquez last week at UFC 188, and where he was originally scheduled to fight him last November, at UFC 180. As such, Cordeiro didn't train Werdum for just a few months to beat Velasquez — he did so for nearly two years.

"We trained hard for that. Our camp started two years ago, when they first booked the fight," he said. "We went to Mexico early to work on his cardio, but the technical training was basically done when we got there. We just had to adapt to the altitude and work on his cardio."

Velasquez, on the other hand, had to be begged by his coaches to go even two weeks early to Mexico City to begin to acclimate to exerting himself so high above sea-level. Post-fight, Velasquez admitted that perhaps that was not enough time to have adjusted to the conditions.

Cordeiro isn't willing to let anyone off the hook, however, since part of being the best fighter is doing whatever is needed to be ready to go on fight night. "The fight was announced and everybody knew they would have to deal with altitude, so go there one month earlier. But even if you go there one month before, that's not a guarantee that you're going to win," he said.

"You have to be prepared to fight. We always believed in Werdum, and today he proved he's the best fighter on the planet."

As such, Cordeiro is confident that his fighter's win against Cain was no lightning strike. Should they rematch, as expected, he warns us all to expect the same final result as the first bout.

"Werdum fights Cain Velasquez 10 times, he wins 10 times," Cordeiro proclaimed.

"I think people should stop finding explanations for results. If you lost, you lost, go back to the gym and train. It's a sport. Got a bad result? Train harder. The altitude was the same for everyone."

The UFC has announced that they will return to Mexico in November with an event in Monterrey. Though an immediate rematch between Werdum and Velasquez at that event may be the most marketable option for the division, Cordeiro played it cool when discussing the future, and insisted that the new champ should let his underlings fight it out a bit.

"Werdum is in a good position to wait right now," he concluded. "I believe these guys will have to fight each other to see who's the No. 1 contender. Werdum earned this, he fought the best in the division to get there. Now they will have to fight each other. We will wait for the UFC to make the call."

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