After beginning his mixed martial arts (MMA) career undefeated (9-0), including winning the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight title against Brock Lesnar at UFC 121: "Lesnar vs. Velasquez" on Oct. 23, 2010, Cain Velasquez suffered his first defeat in a little more than one minute of the opening round in his first title defense against Junior dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos."
The Brazilian bomber blasted Velasquez with a powerful right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas and followed up with a few more good shots to finish the job, ending his undefeated streak and taking his recently won title in the process.
Now, the former NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler looks to get back inside the Octagon to start a new streak and prove that regardless of his recent setback, he is still one of the top and most well-rounded heavyweights in the sport today.
His first challenge will be against another former UFC Heavyweight Champion, as he takes on Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Frank Mir, at UFC 146 in the promotion's first-ever all Heavyweight main card on Memorial Day weekend (May 26, 2012) for the right to face the winner of that night's main event, Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem.
Appearing on the "The MMA Hour" today (April 2, 2012), Velasquez talks about what he could have done different against "Cigano," the recent problems inside his gym, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), and who think will win the title fight between "The Reem" and "Cigano."
Check it out:
"I could have attacked more, but I stayed in the punching range and it's not the smartest thing to do against Junior. I could have used more wrestling and attacked and I didn't do any of these things. But, it is something that I have learned from moving forward."
One of his former training partners, Josh Koscheck, parted ways with AKA, citing personal differences with head trainer Javier Mendez. Velasquez says that regardless of the beef going on between the two, that it is their business and he has no plans on getting in the middle of it and remains friends with both parties:
"I have not read what he said or anything. I've heard from other people. I don't listen to anything people say online or anything. My job is just to train and fight, that is all I stick to. The tension is between he and Javier. If they have the time to sort to they need to. My relationship with Javier and "Kos" is not going to change, he is still a friend of mine. Javier is my top coach and that is just the way it is. I do not get involved in other people's business. We are a close group of guys it sucks to have a close friend leave, but we have to move on with our lives and we have done that."
Serving as co-main event at UFC 146 to the much anticipated Heavyweight title fight between Overeem and Dos Santos, Velasquez makes no secret as to who he thinks will win and who he is rooting for:
"It's going to be a tough one. I think in the clinch and in the distance, obviously the kicking range, Overeem will have a better shot. But, in the punching range, dos Santos can win the fight whenever.I hope Dos Santos wins so I can have a rematch. I think he will win, he is an athletic guy, his boxing is really good"
Indeed, a rematch between he and dos Santos would be intriguing to say the least, given the fact that their first encounter wasn't much of a fight, lasting all of 64 seconds.
Before the two can have a second go at it, many things have to fall into place. Dos Santos has to defeat one of his, if not the most toughest test to date, as he steps into the Octagon against a fighter who may have a slight advantage in the striking department. That's an advantage that not to many heavyweights can stake claim to, but Overeem's K-1 pedigree gives him that edge.
On the flip side, Velasquez has to get passed a fighter who always seems to be lurking at the top of the division, taking on submission wizard Frank Mir, though Mir isn't a stranger to standing-and banging when the time calls for it.
What's your take Maniacs, can Cain get past the wily veteran on his way to another chance to reclaim his UFC title? Or will Mir prove that he is still one of the top big boys in the UFC and hand Velasquez his second consecutive loss en route to his own road to gold?