Collegiate wrestling buddies turned highly successful Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) combatants, Ryan Bader and Cain Velasquez have enjoyed much success in the realm of mixed martial arts (MMA). However, one-half of the pair has suffered through a litany of injuries.
Velasquez pulled out of a scheduled heavyweight title rematch with champion Fabricio Werdum at the now-defunct UFC 196 pay-per-view (PPV) on Feb. 6, 2016 earlier this week. The All-American wrestler from Arizona State University (ASU) will soon be going under the knife to repair an ailment in his back and face a four-week recovery period.
Bader, who was a teammate of Velasquez at ASU, told reporters at a recent UFC on FOX 18 media scrum that the latter simply defeats himself in training:
"We text from time to time. We've all got our families in different states, but he's still a good friend. Cain's always been a beast and mentally I think he's the toughest guy I've ever been around athlete-wise in the wrestling room. I think he's so mentally strong and wants to work so hard that sometimes his body can't keep up. He's 240 pounds, but trains like a 145-er ... moves like a 145-pounder. For me, I just think his body can't keep up with his strong mental fortitude. It's unfortunate cause I know it takes away from his career and I know he can go out there, get the title back, and reign for as long as he wants."
Criticism has come the way of Velasquez's training ground, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA). Said critique has come by way of his boss, UFC President Dana White, who thinks the California facility is a bit archaic.
For now, the 265-pound division is stuck at a standstill because "Vai Cavalo" is also out of action with back and foot injuries of his own. When Velasquez and Werdum eventually return, things might be a little messy at the top of the weight class.