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There were times in his MMA career when Fabricio Werdum seemed destined to be remembered as a very good – but probably not great – heavyweight fighter. Then came UFC 188 in Mexico City.
In what was clearly his finest moment in the Octagon, Werdum scored a third-round submission victory over UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, winning the belt and making a case that he belongs among the division’s all-time best fighters.
Werdum, a three-time Brazilian jiu jitsu world champion, now can claim victories over two of the sport’s greatest heavyweights: Velasquez and the great Russian champion Fedor Emelianenko.
In both of those bouts, Werdum was an underdog. In both, he won by submission.
His climb to the top of the MMA world has been relentless, if not always successful. He suffered disheartening losses to Andrei Arlovski in 2007, Junior Dos Santos in 2008 and Alistair Overeem in 2011 but has also scored wins over such notable fighters as Gabriel Gonzaga, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Roy Nelson and Travis Browne.