Following a surprising twist of fate on Tuesday night that saw UFC champion Cain Velasquez suffer a knee injury and withdraw from his anticipated match-up at UFC 180, the landscape of heavyweight MMA has changed significantly. Fabricio Werdum is still fighting for the (interim) title in Mexico City, yet it will be against a man who once had scores of fans rallying for his own coveted title shot.
"I watch Mark Hunt fight for a long time, since his K-1 days. He's a nice guy," Werdum told MMAFighting.com. "He tries to knock you out all the time. That's his style. He doesn't have a great ground game, but he's good defensively. I will have to change my strategy, but I will stay focused on winning that title on Nov. 15."
While many would consider it a blessing to step across the cage against Hunt rather than Velasquez, Werdum is not so certain about that. Although Hunt may lack the grappling acumen, he has more than enough punching power to make up for it.
"I know it's not an easy fight," he continued. "Mark Hunt has a huge knockout power, but I will do my best to avoid that. I envision this fight like my fight with Roy Nelson. I will do the right thing to win the title.
"He's a heavy guy and has a great chin. I have to be careful. I can't say he's an easier opponent than Cain Velasquez. There's no easy fight in the UFC. Anyone can beat you. Everybody knows Mark Hunt's punching power. I think my only advantage in this fight is that I'm training for a long time for it."
When asked to predict the outcome on Nov. 15, Werdum suggested that a submission stoppage would be probable.
"Maybe a submission," Werdum said. "I will work hard to get him tired. Who knows, maybe I can surprise him standing. I know it's not easy. My prediction is that I will win the title. I envision myself speaking to Joe Rogan, with my hands raised, thanking everyone who helped me get here."
Transcription taken from MMAFighting.com.