After over two and a half years away from action, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will make his much-anticipated return to action this Sunday (Feb. 17, 2019) when he faces Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC on ESPN 1.
At 36 years of age, Cain has lost years of his combat life due to multiple injuries and surgeries, which have caused his stock to stumble a bit after once being considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. According to his teammate Daniel Cormier, the time off won’t affect Cain’s performance one bit, as “DC” proclaims that Velasquez is still the same vicious beast that annihilated Travis Browne in his previous bout way back in mid-2016.
“As you’re excited I’m excited. And not as a teammate, but as a fan of the sport. Dude is just a buzz saw in there and I can’t wait to watch him where he belongs, in that Octagon. I’m excited he gets another opportunity to put his skill on display again,” said Cormier on The MMA Hour.
Working side-by-side with Cain for the longest time now, Cormier sees firsthand just what kind of work he’s put in during his absence from active competition. That’s why the current 265-pound champion is confident his No. 1 sparring partner will be back back to his old self.
“You’re going to see vintage, you’re going to see the best. Nothing has changed. He is still as good, still as fast. He still can wrestle, as well. You have to remember, this whole time off he’s been helping me the whole time,” he added, referencing Cain’s constant involvement in his training camps during his time as “champ-champ.”
While “DC’s” retirement plans have been pushed back a bit due to his own nagging injuries, Cormier says once he leaves the sport for good, Cain will be there to pick up the heavyweight title he leaves behind. And now that he’s finally at full health, UFC can find comfort in knowing that they will have a dominant champion on its hands.
“He will be the champ, very, very soon. As soon as I’m out of there he will be the champ,” said Cormier. “The only issue with that is, the UFC has to know, now Cain is healthy and they can trust him because he will be around for a while.”
Before Velasquez can eye a shot at the strap, he has to get through one of the hardest-hitting men on the UFC roster in Ngannou. While “The Predator’s” knockout power isn’t lost on Team Velasquez, Cormier and Co. are confident cain will pick up the much-needed win in Phoenix, Arizona.
To see the most up-to-date UFC on ESPN 1: “Ngannou vs Velasquez” fight card click here.