It’s a rematch that’s 15 years in the making, but Fabricio Werdum and Junior Dos Santos are reportedly set to fight in a Bare Knuckle MMA fight later this year. The pair first met all the way back at UFC 90 on October 25th, 2008, where Dos Santos scored what was an upset victory at the time by knocking out Werdum in the very first round. It was Dos Santos’ promotional debut and he only held a 6-1 professional MMA record at the time, whereas Werdum was far more well-known from his days fighting for PRIDE in Japan. Of course, as the years went on it became clear that this wasn’t a lucky win and it was more of a sign of things to come in the UFC heavyweight division.
Dos Santos went on to win 6 more fights in a row straight after that and earned a shot against Cain Velasquez, handing him his first loss in professional MMA and winning the UFC heavyweight world championship in the process. Werdum also reached the top of the division in the end, although his path to the title took a little longer as he left to compete in Strikeforce for a while before returning to the UFC and also defeating Velasquez for the title. The two men never crossed paths again despite both fighting for the UFC until 2020 and racking up almost 70 professional MMA fights between the two of them.
Now it seems as though Fabricio Werdum and Junior Dos Santos will be getting that long-awaited rematch, but under slightly different rules in a bare knuckle MMA fight on September 2nd, 2023. Dos Santos’ coach at American Top Team, Conan Silveira, confirmed the news in a recent interview with Sherdog:
“‘Cigano’ started his camp to face (Fabricio) Werdum today. I’m not sure if it was already officially announced but it will be at a (Jorge) Masvidal event under Vale Tudo rules, but with no gloves.”
The event he’s referring to is Gamebred FC, the fight promotion that Masvidal started and has managed to get some pretty big names competing for already. Although nothing has been officially announced for their next bare knuckle MMA event just yet, it seems as though this is true given that Fabricio Werdum already hinted at making his return to combat sports. A fight between these two men would make for a fantastic main event and will no doubt bring in plenty of viewers if Masvidal and his team have managed to get it done.