Fabricio Werdum- A Pro MMA Fighter

Fabricio Werdum- A Pro MMA Fighter

1. Fabricio Werdum’s Details

Name Fabricio Werdum
Pro MMA Record 24-9-1 (Win-Loss-Draw)
Nickname Vai Cavalo (Go Horse)
Date of Birth 30-07-1977
Age 44
Height 6’4”
Weight 109 kg
Born Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sui, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Last Fight May 06, 2021, at Professional Fighter League (PFL)
Weight Division Heavyweight
Career Disclosed Earning $2,195,000
Fought out of Los Angeles, California
College/University NA
Foundation Style MMA
Lineage Carlos Gracie –> Helio Gracie –> Alvaro Barreto –> Sylvio Behring ->  Fabricio Werdum
Team Association Kings MMA/ Werdum Combat Team
Favorite Position/Technique Triangle

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2. Fabricio Werdum’s Biography

2.1. Who is Fabricio Werdum?

Fabricio Werdum is a famous Mixed Martial Art (MMA) fighter in the Heavyweight Division who has competed in all three main MMA organizations (UFC, Pride, and Strikeforce) and is currently assigned to the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

Fabricio Werdum is 44 years old and holds a black belt in BJJ given by  Sylvio Behring. He is a 2x BJJ World Champion, 2x ADCC Champion, as well as a 2x former UFC heavyweight champion. (Ranked 14 in the Heavyweight Division when he left UFC).

He astonished the MMA world in 2010 by submitting Fedor Emelianenko in the first round, a man many considered unbreakable and widely recognized as the best heavyweight in MMA history.

He was nicknamed Vai Cavalo (Cavalo means horse) in his youth when he used to play soccer. 

Werdum is now training with Kings MMA. He teaches at his new school Werdum Combat Team in Venice California.

2.2. Fabricio Werdum’s Early Life and Amateur Fighting

Fabricio Werdum was born on July 30, 1977, in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre. 

Start of BJJ

Fabricio started practicing jiu-jitsu after a confrontation with an ex-boyfriend of his fiancé when he was a teenager. He was held in a chokehold by the ex-boyfriend who practiced BJJ, which Werdum was completely unfamiliar with, and he was forced to sleep. When he learned that he had been defeated by jiu-jitsu, he enrolled in Marcio Corletta's Winner-Behring Academy to start his jiu-jitsu training.

At the age of 17, Fabricio left Brazil and moved to Spain to join his mother in Madrid. Many felt that Fabricio’s fighting career would come to an end after this departure, but this could not be further from the truth .

Becoming a BJJ Instructor

As a purple belt, Fabricio Werdum started teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Madrid and other cities in  Spain.  Because there were no BJJ academies in Madrid in the early 2000s, Werdum decided to create his own, with his headquarters in the famous Vicente Calderon football (soccer) stadium, home to the Atletico Madrid team.

After establishing himself as one of Spain's greatest coaches, Fabricio went on to set up subsidiary academies in Saragossa  and Albacete (both Spanish towns).

Promotion to Black Belt

Regardless of the fact that he only trained in blue and white belts, Fabricio became a BJJ World Champion and was promoted to black belt three years later by Master Sylvio Behring.

Winning BJJ World Championships

Shift to MMA

Eventually, Werdum decided to pay more attention to the MMA sector.

After becoming successful in BJJ and submission grappling, Fabricio began his career in mixed martial arts.

2.3. Fabricio Werdum’s Pro MMA Career

Werdum made his MMA debut in 2002 at a European event called the Millennium Brawl, where he won with his trademark triangle choke.

Joining Chute Boxe Academy

In order to improve his stand-up (the part of the MMA game where he was lacking the most), Fabricio joined the renowned Chute Boxe Academy in Curitiba, Brazil. In exchange for his striking lessons, Fabricio offered private grappling lessons to many fighters on the team.

In 2005, Fabricio Werdum was asked to assist Croatian fighter Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in his ground training. Mirko was a famous MMA fighter in Japan who was looking for the best grappler to help him improve his game. Fabricio agreed to help him. At the same time, opened a new gym in Croatia, this time in Zagreb.

Career at Pride Fighting Championship

Fabricio had a five-fight winning streak before joining the Pride FC in 2005. Although now extinct, it was one of the best MMA organizations of the early 2000s where Fabricio continued to fight until the institute was folded.

Fabricio had the first loss of his MMA career in PRIDE 30 when he was beaten by Sergei Khaitonvo via a split decision.

After Pride, Werdum fought for the 2 Hot 2 Handle organization for a short period and subsequently signed a contract with the UFC.

Career at Ultimate Fighting Champion

Fabricio made his UFC debut on April 21, 2007, at Nations Collide, where he lost by decision to a former heavyweight champion, Andrej Arlovski.

After a rocky start in the UFC, Fabricio joined a Chute Boxe Affiliate Academy in 2008 in his hometown, Porto Alegre, to work on his Muay Thai attacks. This training proved to be fruitful and he achieved two victories over Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera at UFC 80 and UFC 85 respectively.

He kept on fighting for UFC until he was knocked out by a junior, dos Santos, in the first round of the match at UFC 90.

UFC renegotiated the contract with Fabricio after his tragic loss, but he did not agree with the terms and was fired by the promotion.

Werdum did not remain unemployed for long and joined Strikeforce soon after UFC.

Career at Strikeforce

Fabricio made his Debut at Strikeforce on August 15, 2009, at Strikeforce Carano vs. Cyborg. 

Due to an impressive start at the Strikeforce organization with two victories over Antonio Silva and Mike Kyle, Fabricio was offered to  fight against World Heavyweight Champion Emeilianenko Fedor, a challenge he had been waiting for all along.

To prepare himself for this battle, Fabricio began Kettlebell training to improve his athleticism and explosive strength. He also took the help of renowned ground instructor Otavio Couto.

All of Werdum’s  hard work paid off as he won by triangle choke in the first round against the heavily fancied Russian.

Return of Ultimate Fighting Champion

Fabricio Werdum made his return to UFC on November 8, 2011, by signing a contract.

Instead of fighting against Brendan Schaub, which was expected in his return debut, Werdum fought against Roy Nelson at UFC 143 on Feb 4, 2012, and won by decision.  The back-to-back action in that fight earned Fabricio the honours of “Fight of the Night.”

In  the second season of the Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Fabricio found his opponent to be  Antonio Rodrigo. Both met in a rematch at the end of the season on June 8, 2013, where Werdum won the match via verbal submission in the second round.

This victory also earned Fabricio the honour of being the only fighter to hold a submission against both former Pride FC Heavyweight Champions: Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo.

Winning the Heavyweight Title

UFC announced on April 29, 2014, that Fabricio and Cain Velasquez were selected as coaches for the inaugural installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America.

Both of them were expected to face each other at UFC 180 on Nov 15, 2014. But Cain pulled out due to a knee injury. Then Werdum competed against Mark Hunt and won the interim Heavyweight Championship, which earned him his “first Performance of the Night” bonus award.

Then a rescheduled match with Cain was held on June 13, 2015, at UFC 188 where Fabricio won again, earning his second consecutive “Performance of the Night” bonus award.

As a result of these two victories, UFC signed another five-eight- year contract with Fabricio.

Losing Heavyweight and USADA Suspension

At UFC 198 on March 14, 2016, Fabricio competed against Miocic and lost by knockout in the first round, facing his first defeat since June 2011.

Then on Sept 15, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 136, Fabricio was expected to face Alexey Oleynik but he was dropped out due to violatiing regulations set by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) .

Later on, it was revealed that the substance in question was a steroid called trenbolone due to which Fabricio was suspended from competition for two whole years i.e. until May 2020.

Werdum then announced his request to leave UFC after which his suspension was reduced to ten months for substantial assistance.

Return from USADA Suspension

Werdum returned from the USADA suspension in May 2020 when  he was expected to fight against Alexey Oleynik at UFC 250. First, on April 9, the fight was postponed by UFC President but it eventually took place on the same day and Werdum lost by decision.

Joining Professional Fighter League

Fabricio Werdum joined the PFL on  November 16, 2020, and announced that he would  compete in the 2021 PFL Heavyweight competition.

Werdum competed against Renan Ferreira on May 2, 2021, and lost the match by knockout. However, later the match status was changed to no contest due to controversy over the match replay.

Withdrawal from PFL 2021

Werdum was forcefully withdrawn from the PFL 2021 tournament when a neurological examination showed swelling in the brain.

2.4. Fabricio Werdum’s Historic Fights

Fabricio Werdum Vs Emelianenko Fedor

One of the greatest fights of Fabricio’s career was his historic win against the former Pride Heavyweight Champion, Emelianenko Fedor.

The match was held on June 26, 2010, at a Strikeforce event. In the first round, Fedor was forced to tap by Fabricio through a triangle armbar. This victory marked the end of Fedor’s 28-fight unbeaten streak and pushed Fabricio’s status up the heavyweight rankings.

After the fight, Fabricio was ranked third best in MMA by Sherdog. Moreover, this match also gave Werdum the distinction of being the only fighter who held victories against both Emelianenko brothers.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2010 Strikeforce / M-1 Global Fedor Emelianenko W Submission (Triangle Armbar) R1 Heavy Weight

Fabricio Werdum Vs Cain Velasquez

Fabricio achieved another historic win against Cain Velasquez at UFC 188 held on June 13, 2015.

In the first round, Cain fought  hard without giving Werdum any chance to breathe. But by the end of the first round, Cain slowed down and Werdum started pressing the advantage .

Velasquez entered the second round aggressively but Werdum soon took hold of Cain and assumed control of the fight in just two minutes.

Then in the third round, when Cain went  for a takedown with no setup, Werdum accepted happily and caught  Cain with a Guillotine Choke, causing him to tap almost immediately.

Hence, Werdum won the match and became the UFC Heavyweight Champion. This performance also earned him the “Performance of the Night” bonus award.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2015 UFC 188 Cain Velasquez W Submission ( Guillotine Choke) R3 Heavyweight

2.5. Fabricio Werdum’s Championships and Accomplishments


  • Fight of the Night
  • Performance of the Night
  • UFC Heavyweight Championship
  • World MMA Award (2010 submission of the year)
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
  • Strikeforce (2010 Submission and Upset of the year)
  • Lineal MMA Heavyweight Championship
  • ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship

ADCC World Championships
Year Medals
2011 Silver
2009 Gold
2007 Gold
2005 Bronze
2003 Bronze
2003 Silver


World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 
Year Medals
2004 Gold
2004 Bronze
2003 Gold
2002 Bronze
2001 Silver
2000 Gold
2000 Gold

Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championships
Year Medals
2003 Silver
2003 Bronze
2002 Gold
2001 Gold
2001 Gold
2000 Gold

3. Fabricio Werdum’s Main Achievements

Position Event Year
1st (Gold Medallist ) IBJJF World Championship 2003
1st (Gold Medallist ) IBJJF World Championship 2004
3rd (Bronze Medalist ) ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship 2005
1st (Gold Medallist ) ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship 2007
1st (Gold Medallist ) ADCC Champion 2009
2nd (Silver Medalist ) ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship 2011

4. Fabricio Werdum’s Main Achievements (Belts)

4.1 Black Belt

Position Belt Event Year
3rd Black Pan American Championship 2003
2nd Black Pan American Championship
1st Black IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2003
3rd Black IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship
1st Black IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2004

4.2 Colored Belts

Position Belt Event Year
3rd Purple IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2001
1st Brown Pan American Championship 2002
3rd Brown IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2002

5. Fabricio Werdum’s Professional Record Breakdown

Professional Record Breakdown
35 Matches  24 Wins 9 Losses
By Submission 12 0
By Decision 6 6
By Knockout 6 3
Draw 1
No Contest 1

5.1. Submission Methods W/L

Methods 12 Wins 0 Loss
Armbar 3 0
Triangle Armbar 3 0
Guillotine Choke 2 0
Triangle Choke 2 0
Kimura 1 0
RNCE 1 0

6. Fabricio Werdum’s Match History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2021 Professional Fighters League Renan Ferreira NC KO/KTO R1 Heavy Weight
2020 UFC Fight Night Alexander Gustafsson W Submission (Armbar) R1 Heavyweight
2020 UFC 249 Aleksei Oleinik L Decision (Split) R3 Heavyweight
2018 UFC Fight Night 127 Alexander Volkov L KO/TKO R4 Heavyweight
2017 UFC Fight Night 121 Marcin Tybura W Decision (Unanimous) R5 Heavyweight
2017 UFC 216 Walt Harris W Submission (Armbar) R1 Heavyweight
2017 UFC 213 Alistair Overeem L Decision (Majority) R3 Heavyweight
2016 UFC 203 Travis Browne W Decision (Unanimous) R3 Heavyweight
2016 UFC 198 Stipe Miocic L KO (Punch) R1 Heavyweight
2015 UFC 188 Cain Velasquez W Submission ( Guillotine Choke) R3 Heavyweight
2014 UFC 180 Mark Hunt W TKO (Knee and Punches) R2 Heavy Weight
2014 UFC on Fox 11 Travis Browne W Decision (Unanimous) R5 Heavy Weight
2013 UFC on Fuel TV 10 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira W Submission (Armbar) R2 Heavy Weight
2012 UFC 147 Mike Russow W TKO (Punches) R1 Heavy Weight
2012 UFC 143 Roy Nelson W Decision (Unanimous) R3 Heavy Weight
2011 Strikeforce Alistair Overeem L Decision (Unanimous) R3 Heavy Weight
2010 Strikeforce / M-1 Global Fedor Emelianenko W Submission (Triangle Armbar) R1 Heavy Weight
2009 Strikeforce / M-1 Global Antonio Silva W Decision (Unanimous) R3 Heavy Weight
2009 Strikeforce Mike Kyle W Submission (Guillotine Choke) R1 Heavy Weight
2008 UFC 90 Junior dos Santos L TKO (Punches) R1 Heavy Weight
2008 UFC 85 Brandon Vera W TKO (Punches) R1 Heavy Weight
2008 UFC 80 Gabriel Gonzaga W TKO (Punches) R2 Heavy Weight
2007 UFC 70 - Nations Collide Andrei Arlovski L Decision (Unanimous) R3 Heavy Weight
2006 2H2H - Pride & Honour Aleksander Emelianenko W Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) R1 Heavy Weight
2006 Pride FC - Critical Countdown Absolute Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira L Decision (Unanimous) R3 Heavy Weight
2006 Pride FC - Total Elimination Absolute Alistair Overeem W Submission (Kimura) R2 Heavy Weight
2006 Pride 31 John Olav Einemo W Decision (Unanimous) R3 Heavy Weight
2005 Pride 30 Sergei Kharitonov L Decision (Split) R3 Heavy Weight
2005 Pride FC - Final Conflict 2005 Roman Zentsov W Submission (Triangle Armbar) R1 Heavy Weight
2005 Pride 29 - Fists of Fire Tom Erikson W Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R1 Heavy Weight
2004 JF - Jungle Fight 2 Ebenezer Fontes Braga W KO (Punch) R2 Heavy Weight
2003 JF - Jungle Fight 1 Gabriel Gonzaga W TKO (Punches) R3 Heavy Weight
2003 WAFF 2 - World Absolute Fight 2 Kristof Midoux W Submission (Triangle Armbar) R1 Heavy Weight
2002 MB 8 - Millennium Brawl 8 James Zikic D Draw R3 Heavy Weight
2002 MB 7 - Millennium Brawl 7 Tengiz Tedoradze W Submission (Triangle Choke) R1 Heavy Weight

7. Interesting Facts about Fabricio Werdum

7.1. Fabricio Werdum’s Family

Fabricio Werdum is married to Karine and has two daughters.

7.2. Fabricio Werdum’s Language

The pro MMA athlete can speak three languages fluently.

  • English
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Fabricio has also worked as a Spanish language Commentator for UFC in the past.

8. Fabricio Werdum’s Top Fight Links

Top Finishes: Fabricio Werdum

Fabricio Werdum vs Renan Ferreira

UFC Fight Island 3: Werdum vs. Gustafsson

Stipe Miocic vs Fabricio Werdum. Knockout.


Fabrício Werdum vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Photo Credit: @werdum 

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