Cain Velasquez is staying put for the time being, as the former heavyweight champion has recently signed a new four-fight deal with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), per a recent report by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
Velasquez, 36, has been plagued with injuries over the past couple of years. His inability to stay active has led to only two Octagon appearances since 2013, one of which was a crushing title loss to Fabricio Werdum back at UFC 188. That said, Velasquez must be healthier than he has been in years or else UFC wouldn’t have offered him a new deal.
The first fight of that freshly-inked contract will come against Francis Ngannou at UFC on ESPN 1 on Feb. 17 from Phoenix, Arizona. The heavyweight clash will serve as the main event, which is only fitting considering Velasquez headlined UFC’s debut on FOX seven years ago. Looks like the promotion wants the heavyweight legend to help usher in the new ESPN era as well.
Velasquez is already regarded as one of the best heavyweights of all time. Without the injuries, Cain could very well be leaps and bounds above the rest of the competition. But at the moment, Fedor Emelianenko and Stipe Miocic are two heavyweights that can be mentioned alongside Velasquez.
If Velasquez is able to stay healthy moving forward he’ll have four more chances to solidify his legacy, reclaim the title he lost to Werdum, and provide fight fans with the matchups they’ve been missing for years.