Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum joins the PFL

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum joins the PFL

The Professional Fighters League has added a heavyweight legend to its roster.

On Monday, the league announced that former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1) will compete in the upcoming 2021 season.

ESPN was the first to report the signing.

Werdum, 43, will compete in the league’s regular season and playoff tournament should he qualify for the latter. The 2021 season is scheduled to begin on April 23, with events to follow on April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25. It is not yet known on which of those dates the heavyweights will begin competing, but the announcement states that Werdum is expected to debut at one of the April shows.

In two stints with the UFC, Werdum compiled a 12-6 record and in his second run with the company he captured the heavyweight title with a third-round submission of Cain Velasquez at UFC 188 in June 2015. In his last fight for the organization this past July, he defeated Alexander Gustafsson by first-round submission. He also holds notable UFC wins over Mark Hunt, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Roy Nelson, and he submitted Fedor Emelianenko in a Strikeforce bout to end the Russian legend’s 28-fight unbeaten streak.

“I am excited to announce Fabricio Werdum, the Tom Brady of MMA, has signed with the Professional Fighters League,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a press release. “Fabricio is one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and knows when he steps into the PFL cage this coming season, it is more than a fight.

“The PFL sport season format provides an opportunity to control his destiny, like all PFL fighters, with a transparent shot to earn another major global title and the PFL million dollar champions belt.”

The PFL chose to cancel its 2020 season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the most recent season, unbeaten Ali Isayev (9-0) won the 2019 heavyweight tournament to become the champion of that division and earn a $1,000,000 prize.