You can work for accolades and acclaim your whole life, only to have them vanish in a moment.
That moment came for former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez when he was savagely knocked out by current champion, Junior dos Santos, at UFC on FOX 1, in Anaheim, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2011.
After defeating Brock Lesnar to win the belt, it looked as though Velasquez would sit atop the heap of 265-pound mixed martial arts (MMA) elite for some time to come. Unfortunately, that was not to be.
Velasquez sat down with HDNet's "Inside MMA" to discuss what it was like to watch his dream disappear so quickly, as well as how he plans to move forward in his upcoming bout versus "Bigfoot" Antonio Silva at UFC 146 on May 26, 2012.
Check it out:
"You know, at first, it was just hard. Everything you work hard for gets taken away from you, just off of that one night. It was just time for me to step back and, first of all, get my body back to 100 percent. I took some time off, rested my body, rested the little nagging injuries that were bothering me. With this training camp, I just slowly worked my way into it. That's really helped me. I took my time at the beginning of the training camp, and then, as weeks went on, just kinda picked up the intensity. I feel really good. My body feels good. I think my quickness and power is where they need to be. I'm glad that after that fight, I took that time off to relax and get my body to one hundred percent."
One of the biggest criticisms Velasquez received after his loss to "JDS" was in regard to a poor strategy. He engaged dos Santos in the stand up exchanges, waiting too long to try and get the fight to the ground.
Velasquez knows he is facing a dangerous opponent in "Bigfoot," but he believes speed will be his weapon of choice:
"'Bigfoot's' a big guy, you know? I think he does everything well. He mixes up his punches and kicks really well. For me, I think, with his overall size, I gotta be quicker than him. So, a lot of 'in and out.' If the takedown's there, take it. Just try to beat him off the quickness."
One advantage Velasquez will have is that one of his training partners, Daniel Cormier, has already fought and defeated Silva. Not only did he win, but he knocked him out in the very first round.
Velasquez has used Cormier and his fight versus Silva as a resource, but he believes he'll be facing a very different fighter when the cage door closes on May 26:
"The training sessions with Daniel have been great. The type of athleticism and skill that he brings to this, it's just great to be in with a guy like that, every day, to train with a guy like that, every day. As far as him, with his fight with Silva, he took him apart early. He told me what he felt out there, even though it was short. But, I'm not expecting to fight the same guy that he fought. I'm expecting to fight a better guy. He dismembered him so quickly."
With both Velasquez and Silva coming into their fight against each other off first round knockout losses, there's a certain amount of desperation you could expect to see. According to Velasquez, that just makes them both all the more dangerous:
"I think it's just more fuel to the fire. You know, we both are hungry for the win. We're both high competitive guys. I think it makes us more dangerous, in that aspect. I mean, it's just of, with my fight, I made a mistake, and I paid for it. That was it. Just learn from it and move on. I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I can step in there with anybody right now and come out victorious. I feel good."
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