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Fabricio Werdum won’t renew UFC contract after Gustafsson fight: ‘The cycle is over’

Former UFC heayvweight champion Fabricio Werdum wants to explore his opportunities after July 25.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is considering all career options after the last fight of his current contract, this Saturday. Paired up against former light heavyweight top contender Alexander Gustafsson, ‘Vai Cavalo’ believes his time spent in the UFC was successful, but moving on to different projects is necessary.

In an interview with Ag Fight, Werdum explained what led him to make the decision to not renew his contract again. Although he is grateful for all the opportunities and doors that the UFC opened for him, Fabricio now wants to be able to call the shots again and not answer to a boss. At least not the same boss he has been answering to for the past eight years.

“There’s no possibility (of renewing my UFC contract).” Werdum said. “All those years with the UFC have been good. We had a good relationship. We disagreed sometimes, but those things happen in a normal relationship. I’m thankful to the UFC for all these years. It’s practically where I made my career. I’ve always wanted to join the UFC and they gave me that opportunity twice. I was fired and asked to come back because I kept bothering them about it. But the cycle is over. It was a good cycle so far. Now I want to move on with my career, I want to do it my way. Maybe I’ll fight for a different company, I’ve fought for many of them, I want to have choices.”

Even though Fabricio is sure this is his last fight in the UFC, it does not mean he is not taking his opponent seriously. In fact, it was Werdum himself who chose to welcome Gustafsson to the heavyweight division, so leaving the Octagon with one last win would be the ideal way for ‘Vai Cavalo’ to give his UFC career proper closure.

“It’s really important (to have Gustafsson as his last opponent in the UFC),” Werdum said. “Especially because I chose him. I had some choices and I chose Gustafsson because he’s a well-known guy. He has a name in the MMA world. He made a name for himself at light heavyweight. I wanted this fight to be important. I didn’t want it to be just another fight, against some beginner. The most important thing is to win, to have a good outing. I’ll do my best, I feel well. I want to leave through the front door.”

In his last outing, Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1) dropped a split decision to Alexey Oleynik at UFC 249 in May. It was his first appearance since a reduced two-year ban for trenbolone, but USADA cut down the length of his suspension after he provided “substantial assistance.” The loss put the 42-year-old on a two-fight losing skid, with a knockout defeat to Alexander Volkov preceding his USADA ban The former champion’s last win happened in November 2017, when he defeated Marcin Tybura via unanimous decision.

Now, Fabricio Werdum is expected to take on Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on ESPN 14, on July 25, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a middleweight fight between former champion Robert Whittaker and contender Darren Till.