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Fabricio Werdum wants more young fighters to follow Rose Namajunas’ example

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Following his recent fracas with Colby Covington, Fabricio Werdum is worried about the lack of respect he sees coming from young fighters.

Fight week hasn’t quite gone to plan for Fabricio Werdum. The former UFC heavyweight champion hit Sydney, likely with every intention of going through the media motions, until he could get the chance to punch Marcin Tybura in the main event of this weekend’s Fight Night broadcast.

Instead, he ran into Colby Covington. Words were exchanged, a kick may have been thrown, a cell phone may have been slapped. Long story short, Fabricio Werdum ended up getting charged with assault for chucking a boomerang at the welterweight contender.

In the wake of the scuffle, Werdum sat down with Submission Radio to talk about his upcoming fight, and to try and avoid talking about his recent kerfuffle as much as possible. ‘Vai Cavalo’ assured the press that he wasn’t distracted by the recent events, and said that public reaction has largely been supportive of his actions.

“Yes, everybody's supportive,” Werdum said of his decision to chuck a boomerang at Covington. “Everybody's supportive because everybody's upset about these things, you know? When a guy says a lot of bad things, it's not good.”

“I think there's a change a little bit,” Werdum responded when asked about the current climate of trash talk in MMA. “I think the big... I saw the last, when Rose beat Joanna – she is amazing – I saw the interview, I posted on my Instagram. Because she's like a... she's very emotional. She says very nice, real things. Everybody want to say these, you know? Why the new generation, they started talking bad things, and saying bad things about our country? I think this is no good, man. Mixed martial arts, or martial arts, is a respect thing. And why you no respect the other one. I know, like, when I have a face-off, the guy's touching each other. Why? Just sit, have a fight next day. Why you touch the guy before? Why? Just that respect, that's it man.”

For his part, the Brazilian credits his traditional martial arts training as a reason that he is less interested in trash talk than the newer fighters coming up through the ranks today.

“Because I learn like this,” Werdum said. “I start in just Jiu Jitsu. I learn, when you go inside the mat you bow on the mat, you bow to your coach. It's very respect, you know, this is very important. I learn like this; self defense, respect, everything. I don't know if guys change a lot, but sometimes the fans like this. One guy says a lot of bad things, the fans like it. But, sometimes, the guys say a lot of bad things to each other, but then it's no good fight. And sometimes you don't say nothing and it's an amazing fight.”

In part that shift may be because of talents like Conor McGregor, who has shattered the MMA pay scale with his brash, outspoken personality – along with his exciting fight style. But, while Werdum doesn’t have a problem with what Conor has done, he doesn’t seem to see it as a road map for success.

“No, because Conor McGregor, he started like this, you know?” Werdum said, when asked if Conor’s May-Mac payday might make him reconsider his stance. “He no change his personality before. I no like when guys change their personality before. Guy is, like, many years normal, don't say nothing, just normal person, good athlete, but guys change a lot. Guys change just for copy Conor McGregor. I no like when guy says ridiculous, when the guys try to copy him. Conor McGregor is just one guy. Conor McGregor did that, it's okay. He's smart guy. But when guys try to copy him it's ridiculous.”

Werdum also assured fans that his main-event bout with Tybura will not be cancelled on account of his extra-curricular scrapping. The UFC Sydney prelims are set to start at 6:30 pm Eastern (3:30 Pacific) on Fight Pass. The main card will start at 10 pm Eastern on FS1.