Fabricio Werdum is currently the interim heavyweight champion of the UFC, and calls California home. Several years ago, though, he lived in Madrid, Spain, where he ran one of Spain’s first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies.
As a three-time world champion in BJJ, he was as famous in our circles back then, as he is in the Mixed-Martial Arts world today. So it was huge surprise when I walked onto the mats at my first-ever European BJJ Championship, to find that Fabricio himself would be the referee of the match!
Nervous in the moment, and still a novice at the Spanish language, I extended my hand and intended to say, “It’s an honor to meet you!”
But instead, as these things go, I screwed up the Spanish and standing there with my white-belt proclaimed, “Hola Fabricio. Es realmente un honor conocerme!”—which translated means:
Hello Fabricio—It’s truly an honor for you to meet me.
He sort of looked down for a moment, and said, “Yeah, let’s get this thing started.” And that ended my one and only conversation with current UFC heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum.