UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez has been in a state of purgatory for some time now.
Not only has he been unable to train, thanks to a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, but it's also been unclear who the next challenger to his title will be.
That came to an end last night (June 11, 2011) in the main event of UFC 131, as Junior dos Santos emphatically put a stamp on his status as the top contender in the division by overwhelming Shane Carwin en route to a clear unanimous decision win.
"Cigano" battered "The Engineer," busting him up and bloodying his face nearly beyond recognition. To see the grisly picture of destruction click here.
On hand in Vancouver to witness said destruction first hand was Velasquez, who was sitting cage side to scout his next opponent. After dos Santos was victorious to set up a fight between the two later this year, Cain spoke with MMAFighting.com to give his thoughts on how the UFC 131 main event played out.
"(Dos Santos) is really good with his stand-up, he's hard to take down, has really good movement. His whole stand-up and his boxing is, I think, one of the best in the whole division. I'm excited. ... I thought (Carwin's wrestling) was good, he needed to transition a little bit more but he's a tough guy and he's much more improved from when we saw him with Brock. His conditioning was up a little more; he looked good, too. He's a tough guy."
Hey, no one ever accused the champ of being the greatest speaker in the business.
That said, he's dead on the money in his assessment of both fighters skills. While it may seem as though he's merely pointing out the obvious, there's no question he knows exactly the challenge that lies in front of him.
In the extended interview, he goes on to say he'll likely return in Oct. or Nov. of this year, and that's when we can expect to see him make his first title defense against dos Santos.
After last night's impressive victory, are you giving the edge to the Brazilian when he goes toe-to-toe with the reigning king of the heavyweight division? Or is Velasquez going to keep is belt for some time to come?
Dos Santos vs. Velasquez, Maniacs ... who ya got?