ABU DHABI – Everybody has been affected by the continued coronavirus pandemic a technique or one other, and Fabricio Werdum isn’t any completely different.

The previous UFC heavyweight champion made his return to the octagon at UFC 249 in Could after serving a U.S. Anti-Doping Company (USADA) suspension. Werdum (23-9-1 MMA, 11-6 UFC) was out of the sport for nearly two years, then suffered a split-decision loss to Aleksei Oleinik in his return. Many thought he didn’t reside as much as his earlier profession performances.

Werdum attributes his effort partially to the continued pandemic, citing the dearth of sparring and coaching within the weeks main as much as the competition.

“I wasn’t in a position to prepare like I ought to,” Werdum advised reporters, together with MMA Junkie, by means of an interpreter throughout Tuesday’s UFC on ESPN 14 digital media day. “The pandemic, which remains to be happening in the present day, so I most popular to battle as quickly as potential to maintain that rhythm as a result of I used to be in a halt for too lengthy. I’m 42 years outdated, and so I wish to battle as typically as potential so I can finish my profession. I by no means had a battle the place I didn’t do sparring as a result of the pandemic was very sturdy, so it’s one thing I now discovered, that coaching on-line doesn’t work.”

Werdum obtained a reasonably fast turnaround, as he’s set to welcome Alexander Gustafsson to the heavyweight division on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 14, which takes place at Flash Discussion board in Yas Island and airs on ESPN. Werdum mentioned for this camp, he was in a position to get correct sparring and feels he had a whole coaching camp, not like his earlier bout.

“This time was very full,” Werdum mentioned. “I used to be in a position to do sparring, jiu-jitsu, the bodily half, which is essential and the psychological work, as effectively. So I had a whole camp.”

At 42, Werdum acknowledges he’s not a younger man within the recreation. He’s not specializing in retirement, although, however slightly has his focus locked in on Gustafsson.

“It’s arduous for us as fighters to speak about that and to comprehend when it’s coming, so we’re going to have to speak about that after July 25 after I sit down and give it some thought.”