This past weekend at UFC 188 in Mexico City, Fabricio Werdum did the unthinkable — he beat Cain Velasquez to unify the UFC heavyweight title. But he just didn’t beat Velasquez, he outclassed the former champion is all phases of the game.

Known for his superb cardio, Velasquez was noticeably winded after the first round and Werdum took advantage of the situation, battering him with combinations on the feet. When Velasquez went for a desperation takedown midway through the third round Werdum utilized his world class BJJ to sink in a nasty guillotine choke forcing Velasquez to tap.

The win wasn’t just a career defining moment, for Werdum, it was the ultimate redemption. Werdum was cut from the UFC after going 2-2 in his first run with the promotion. He re-joined the organization through the Strikeforce deal, coming off of a disappointing loss.

Even though Werdum become the first man to defeat Fedor Emelianenko after he had gone undefeated in 28 bouts, there were a lot of doubters out there about. Werdum re-joined the UFC with a chip on his shoulder.

To get to this point Werdum had to go 4-0 in his return. That secured him a coaching gig opposite Velasquez on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America and a shot at the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 180. That showdown would be delayed as Velasquez once again suffered an injury during training so on two weeks’ notice, Werdum took on Mark Hunt for the interim heavyweight title. Werdum knocked out the former K-1 champion in the second round to earn the title and the opportunity to unify the title once Velasquez was healthy.

There are already a lot of people out there looking to diminish Werdum’s accomplishment. Some people are pointing to lingering injuries and the 20-month layoff Velasquez was coming off. Others seem to think Velasquez’s performance was the product of improper altitude preparation during his training camp. While both factors did contribute to Velasquez’s performance at UFC 188, the fact of the matter is Werdum was the better man that night.

Now that the dust from UFC 188 is beginning to settle, it’s time to really put Werdum’s career into perspective. With his latest win over Velasquez, Werdum has catapulted himself into the discussion as being the greatest heavyweight of all-time.

While, when you think of Werdum, “Greatest of All-Time” generally isn’t the first thought that comes to mind — but maybe it should be. Just look at his resume. Werdum has wins over Velasquez, Gabriel Gonzaga twice, Hunt, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and Emelianenko. That list is even more impressive when you consider all of those wins came by stoppage.

To steal a line from the immortal Ric Flair, “To be the man, you have to beat the man.” It’s pretty safe to say that Werdum has done just that. Look at the records of all the other great heavyweights; only Nogueira and Emelianenko have comparable wins over elite competition. Werdum has finished both men in head to head competition.

A winner of six straight with four stoppages since rejoining the UFC, Werdum is the best heavyweight in the sport today and if he can avenge his losses to Junior dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski, he will surely be remembered as the greatest heavyweight of all-time.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.