Fabricio Werdum Parts Way With PFL After One Fight: ‘I Needed This Time Off’

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum parted ways with the PFL after only one fight in May 2021.

Fabricio Werdum
Fabricio Werdum (Left and Right)(Images via Instagram @Werdum)

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has parted ways with the Professional Fighters League. 

After parting ways with the UFC, Werdum explored the free agency market. He signed with PFL, hoping to capitalize on their $1 million prize for the season winner. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned for ‘Vai Cavalo.’ 

The Brazilian legend was winning his first PFL bout before a tap out by Renan Fereira was unnoticed by the referee. Fereira ended up escaping and finishing Werdum by TKO. ‘Vai Cavalo’ disputed the result, leading to a no-contest ruling by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board. 

One month later, Werdum wasn’t medically cleared due to brain swelling, leading to his 2021 PFL season-ending. During a statement to MMA Fighting, ‘Vai Cavalo’ released this statement:

“My contract with PFL is over. I did that fight and had all that problem, and stayed out for two years. Not because of that [loss], but I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I needed this time off, and the contract ended.”

Before joining PFL, Werdum won four of his last seven UFC bouts after losing the heavyweight world championship to Stipe Miocic. The Brazilian ended his UFC tenure in 2020 with a first-round submission against Alexander Gustafsson. Although the PFL experiment failed, ‘Vai Cavalo’ will return to MMA if the offer makes sense. 

What’s next for Fabricio Werdum?

The PFL stint seemed to be the last push for Fabricio Werdum. With that said, Werdum managed to “technically” get a win over an impressive heavyweight in Renan Fereira. During the same statement with MMA Fighting, ‘Vai Cavalo’ had this to say about potential opponents he would fight against: 

“If that happens in the future, give me some time to train and I would definitely do it. It could be [Francis] Ngannou, [Junior dos Santos] ‘Cigano’, it could be anyone. Maybe even [Cain] Velasquez coming back now. I don’t even know if he will.”

Werdum established a UFC record of 12-6. In 2014, he became the interim UFC heavyweight champion with a TKO victory against Mark Hunt. The Brazilian later claimed undisputed status with a third-round submission against Cain Velasquez. Even if ‘Vai Cavalo’ doesn’t fight again, his legacy will be solidified as one of the greatest submission artists in UFC history. 

Published on March 22, 2023 at 10:58 pm
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