At one point, Cain Velasquez was the UFC heavyweight champion, and a man considered as potentially the best to ever feature in that division’s history.
Unfortunately, after a career plagued by injury, Velasquez has faded to the very outer peripheries of mixed martial arts. Occasionally showing up at events as a featured fighter, Velasquez hasn’t fought in the cage since July of 2016 at UFC 200. Overall, he’s fought six times in the last five years — a brutally low amount for a elite level fighter.
Now according to his main training partner and longtime friend, Daniel Cormier, he’s back and ready to get into the cage for one last run.
“It does suck to have to go in there and work with Cain, because he’s so much better than everybody else that’s ever been around, but it’s good to have him, man,” Cormier said, speaking on MMAFighting’s The MMA Hour. “Just seeing him back doing what he loves to do, it’s amazing as a friend and as a fan of mixed martial arts, because if Cain gets back, you guys know what he does for the heavyweight division. He makes for some very, very interesting and fun fights.”
.@DC_MMA announced that former UFC heavyweight champ @CainMMA is back in training! Who's excited to see Velasquez back in the Octagon? 🙋♂️ Watch #TheMMAHour LIVE: https://t.co/LhsTRQ4VCo pic.twitter.com/joUL6rNdh6
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) December 11, 2017
Of course, it’s not easy. Velasquez body has long been battered and bruised, and to get through high level training camps is no easy feat. For Cormier, he believes that the team are coming together to work with Velasquez to ensure he’s able to fight not just once again, but fight regularly.
“When you start dealing with some of the injuries that Cain has had, and I’ve seen this since wrestling — backs and necks and all those types of injuries — man, it takes time to recover,” Cormier said. “And I think, for a long time, Cain may have pushed himself when he should’ve rested, and I believe this time he’s actually taken the time to try to let himself heal, and I feel like this will be a chance for him to make a long, sustained run, much longer than he really has over the course of his career.
“He’s had a lot of injuries at bad times. I talked to Cain about this, and it sucks. For a guy who was talented and committed to the sport, he’s probably lost five years. Can you imagine what Cain Velasquez’s resume would look like without five years worth of time on the shelf? It’s so sad to think about, but I believe that he has finally gotten himself in a position where his body is going to be able to match his work ethic, his mind, his ferociousness, his mentality, everything, and allow him to go on a run. A long, sustained run to kinda finish out his career.”