This weekend, in Mexico City, UFC 188 will kick off and we'll finally get to see the two heavyweight belt holders, Cain Velasquez (current champion) and Fabricio Werdum (interim champion) do battle. It will be Velasquez' first foray in the Octagon since October 19, 2013. The two competitors have been on a press tour over the last couple weeks and Fabricio Werdum has charmed media outlets with funny quips and witticisms just about every time he does an interview.
MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz recently spoke to the 37-year-old grappling ace, who detailed how he was once beaten in an impromptu jiu-jitsu match at the beach by his girlfriend's ex. That loss to "Marquinhos" would have a huge impact on the rest of Werdum's life, and he credits it as being the reason he took up the discipline formally. Here's an excerpt from the fantastic feature:
Fabricio Werdum went to the beach with Larissa, his girlfriend at the time, and her family and friends. But when they got there, Marcos, Larissa's ex-boyfriend, was waiting for them. Werdum knew that "Marquinhos", as they used to call him, still had a crush on Larissa, but wasn't bothered about it. Marcos had other plans.
Marcos was a jiu-jitsu practitioner, and Werdum had no idea what jiu-jitsu was.
"I guess he wanted to embarrass me in front of her and her entire family," Werdum recalls, "so he challenged me to fight him in a jiu-jitsu match right there at the beach."
At first, Werdum said no. "I like women, not jiu-jitsu," he told Marcos. Larissa, for unknown reasons, asked Werdum to take the challenge against the experienced opponent. She probably knew Werdum would lose to her ex-boyfriend, but still wanted to see it happen.
"She told me to do it, that it would be fun, but I declined. I told her I had no idea what jiu-jitsu was, but she eventually convinced me to do it."
The match ended quickly, and Marcos only needed less than a minute to finish Werdum with a triangle choke. On the next day, still pissed off by the loss, Werdum visited Marcio Corletta's gym Winner-Behring and started training jiu-jitsu.
Werdum became a blue belt world champion a year later, but never had the chance to avenge that loss.
"I met him later and invited him to train with me, but he never accepted the challenge," Werdum said. "He always had an excuse. Elbow, shoulder, he was always injured. He heard that I won the world championship in the blue belt and never accepted to train with me."
"He recently contacted me, inviting me to teach a seminar in his gym. Yeah, right..."
"If I never had accepted my girlfriend's ex-boyfriend's challenge, I would never start training jiu-jitsu," he said. "And thank God I failed that test, or I wouldn't be where I am today."
"And you see how things are. Ten years later, I submitted the best in the world, and now I'm fighting for the UFC heavyweight title."
Fabricio Werdum vs Cain Velasquez takes place this Saturday in Mexico City on the UFC 188 card. Check your local television listings for PPV information on available times and channels.