The UFC heavyweight champion was initially scheduled to face Cain Velasquez on Feb. 6, but the former titleholder pulled out of the bout with a back injury.
A day after the announcement that Velasquez would be replaced by Stipe Miocic, the Brazilian told MMAFighting.com he will also pull out of the event with an injury.
“I was already injured,” Werdum told Brazilian journalists on Monday. “I have a foot injury, and haven’t been able to throw kicks in training for two weeks. I would still fight Cain because I was injured the last time, but I also hurt my back last Friday. I went to the doctor, tried to continue training, but couldn’t spar as I should spar.
“I decided not to fight because I’m not 100 percent,” he continued. “If Cain was the opponent, I would go on. It’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. You can’t avoid them. I have no option. I made this decision because I’m not feeling 100 percent.”
Werdum says he’s “still confused” about everything that happened.
“I made this decision together with my team,” he said. “We decided not to fight. Cain can’t fight. I was going to hide the injury one more time, like I always did. I tried to hide it, but couldn’t this time. I can’t fight if I’m not 100 percent to put on a show like I always did.”
The Brazilian says he’s down to fighting in “two or three months”, and is open to facing Velasquez or Miocic.
“It took me a long time to get here and win this belt, be the champion, to throw everything away because I’m not 100 percent,” Werdum said. “I have to think about everything now, I can’t think and act like I did when I was 20. It’s not like that anymore. Everything changed. I’m 38 now, and I feel I’m at the best moment of my career, and I can’t risk my career because of pride.”