Runway Magazine: Since your submission win over Fedor Emelianenko, you’ve really gotten noticed. How are you handling all of this attention?

Fabricio Werdum: It feels great to receive accolades from fans and your peers. I am grateful for this, however I know that now more than ever, I need to remain focused on my craft and train harder than ever. It’s wonderful to be able to be in the public eye more—as it allows me the opportunity to interact with fans and that interaction inspires me to train harder. Yet, I have deepened my commitment and resolve to continue to be the best fighter that I can be.

R: Fedor Emelianenko recently commented in the media that you are “trying to avoid [him] and delay the rematch”; how do you feel about this?

FW: I quite honestly don’t agree with Fedor’s comment. I have commented many times to the press about wanting a rematch with Fedor. I even agreed to have the rematch in Russia. It’s no secret that I have recently had surgery and upon my return to the ring, I am more than willing to fight Fedor.

R: Speaking of your surgery, how are you feeling? And why did you feel the need to take a break at the height of your game to have surgery?

FW: I’m doing well. My elbow is healing and I am very much looking forward to my return to the ring. I felt it was necessary to have the surgery so that I can fight at top level. I want to give my all – I cannot possibly give my all while being injured. The injury greatly inhibited my range of movement.

R: In addition to your own illustrious career, you are training fighters through your Werdum Combat Team. What inspires you to train, and how does it differ from actually fighting?

FW: That’s a good question. Having the opportunity to train other young fighters gives me the opportunity to impart my knowledge while remembering the art of the fight. While some of the steps in training may be [considered] basic to others, I feel it’s extremely important to remain well versed in the steps of fighting. I get this through training. Training differs from an actual fight in that there’s a certain amount of natural instinct that goes into a live fight. There’s a certain amount of adrenaline and personal style that goes into my fights, therefore, when I’m in an actual fight, I am utilizing techniques while imparting a part of my natural abilities against my opponent.

R: What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a professional MMA fighter?

FW: My advice would be to eat, sleep and breathe your craft. There is always someone who got up an hour earlier and trained an hour longer. Therefore, you must be passionate enough about your craft to focus without distraction. I would also say don’t get caught up in the fanfare surrounding a professional MMA career. Fight because you are passionate not because you will gain fame. And when you do gain fame, use it to help others. Keep a good team around you and stay grounded.

R: Speaking of staying grounded, how do you unwind?

FW: I unwind by spending time with my wife and daughter. Having a supportive family keeps me going. I also spend time with my close friends.