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Fabricio Werdum shifting focus from MMA to boxing: ‘I want to add another belt on the wall’

The Brazilian legend is putting his MMA career on hold to pursue boxing. 

Fabricio Werdum getting his hands wrapped for a UFC Fight Night in July 2020.
Fabricio Werdum getting his hands wrapped for a UFC Fight Night in July 2020.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

After briefly considering retirement earlier this year, former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has decided to shift his focus from mixed martial arts to boxing.

Werdum opted not to re-sign with the UFC following the completion of his contract over two years ago. ‘Vai Cavalo’ enjoyed two successful stints with the promotion but wanted to move on and try something else. That led to his eventual signing with Professional Fighters League (PFL) to join the heavyweight tournament in the 2021 season. He debuted at PFL 3, where he suffered a controversial first-round technical knockout loss to Renan Ferreira. The loss was overturned to a No Contest after the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board ruled that Ferreira tapped to a guillotine choke before the TKO happened.

The ordeal with Ferreira and a health scare left Werdum feeling uninterested and unmotivated to fight again, which saw him withdraw from the rest of the season and mull over retirement. Though his status with PFL was up in the air, the Brazilian recently expressed interest in returning in 2022 for a potential fight in June. However, he has since had a change of heart again and revealed he would no longer consider hanging up his gloves — for now.

“I don’t like the word ‘retired’ or ‘stopped fighting,” said Werdum to Brazilian media in a recent press conference (H/T Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting). “For us, fighters, it’s very hard to stop doing what you love. I’ll completely change my focus.”

Werdum previously hinted at pursuing a career in boxing and said he would do it if it meant getting another championship opportunity.

“When I set out to become jiu-jitsu champion, I did it – in the UFC, I also did it,” said Werdum. “I don’t have that title in boxing, and I want to dedicate 100 percent to boxing because I want that title. I was champion in everything, except boxing. I never competed in boxing, and I want to add another belt on the wall.”

No date has been set for a boxing debut, but Werdum will be ready to field offers soon.

In terms of his professional career, Werdum went 24-9-1 (1) after more than two decades of fighting. The 44-year-old has wins over the likes of Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cain Velazquez.