LAS VEGAS – Cain Velasquez's rage has barely subsided some 13 months after losing the UFC heavyweight championship to Junior dos Santos.

After he pummeled Brock Lesnar to win the title at UFC 121 in 2010, there was good reason to believe Velasquez might set some sort of longevity record as heavyweight champion.

He wasn't just winning fights; he was assaulting his opponents. He was one of the UFC's best-conditioned athletes, if not its best. He punched ridiculously hard and was stunningly quick for a guy who weighed 240 pounds. Clearly, his wrestling was elite.

That combination led to a lot of battered and beaten opponents and all sorts of predictions of greatness for Velasquez.

Today, though, he's a former champion, and it clearly doesn't sit well with him. He's had to recount his stunning loss over and over, frequently doing so through clenched teeth.

As the rematch with dos Santos has inched closer, his answers to the questions about what happened at UFC on Fox 1 have become far more curt.

"I didn't execute," he said. "I didn't fight with the urgency I needed to fight with."

[Also: UFC veteran Joe Lauzon 'carrying the flag' for submissions]

It's a pretty good bet that he'll fight with urgency when he challenges dos Santos for the belt at the MGM Grand Garden on Saturday.

He gave a glimpse of his mindset in May when he tore apart Antonio "Big Foot" Silva. Velasquez savagely beat Silva, blistering him with elbows and punches and turning him into a bloody mess that wasn't for those with queasy stomachs.

When the fight was stopped, there was little celebration by Velasquez. It was simply a step toward getting back to where he wanted to be. He was sick of hearing "former champion" in front of his name and battering Silva was just a step toward accomplishing that goal.

Much is being made of Velasquez's knee injury prior to the first fight with dos Santos, some of that fueled by Velasquez himself when he released a video of the injury.

As fight time approaches, though, he's refused to make much of it other than to acknowledge he wasn't able to train like he needed to in order to retain his belt.

[Also: Erik Perez will wear a luchador mask at UFC 155]

He could have pulled out, though it would have been a difficult choice because the fight was the UFC's first on Fox and perhaps was more heavily hyped than any MMA fight in history.

Given his wrestling base and his need to be able to use his legs to explode into his takedowns, perhaps it would have been wise to postpone the fight.

He made the decision to fight and the results are what they are. He's not eager to revisit it.

Clearly, had he known then what he knows now, he wouldn't have fought. It does him little good to talk about it, though it's one of the primary issues heading into Saturday's rematch.

"I made the decision I made and I have to live with the consequences of it," he said. "I've moved on."

So he says. But everything about Velasquez says that he hasn't, that he's watched the replay in his mind over and over. The vision of dos Santos' right hand landing behind his ear and stealing his equilibrium is on repeat in his brain.

[Related: Watch UFC 155 live on Yahoo! Sports]

It takes a world-class athlete to claim a UFC belt. But it takes a special one to regroup and regain a title.

"I got into this sport to be the best and I've never lost that feeling," he said. "I believe I'm the best and I have to go out there and fight like it."

It's been a long 13 months for Velasquez and the challenge ahead of him is immense.

If he shows the same fury and urgency in the cage that he's shown in his public appearances since losing the belt, he might join Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Tim Sylvia as the only men to lose and then later regain the heavyweight title.

Related MMA video from Yahoo! Sports
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:

Slideshow: Sports tweets of the year
NFL Power Rankings: Broncos grab hold of the top spot
Watch: College ballers butcher Christmas carols
Y! Shopping: The most anticipated tech products of 2013

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Ben Rothwell vs. Junior Dos Santos: A Head-to-Toe Breakdown

  • 28 days ago
  • 45 views

The heavyweight division is heating up leading into summer, and No. 4-ranked contender Ben Rothwell and No. 5-ranked Junior Dos Santos will meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 86. This five-rou read news >>

Derrick Lewis still looking to be as sharp as his sense of humor (Yahoo Sports)

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

From Yahoo Sports: The UFC heavyweight has won two in a row, but says he’s still working to reach his potential. read news >>

Derrick Lewis still looking to be as sharp as his sense of humor (Yahoo Sports)

  • 27 days ago
  • 9 views

From Yahoo Sports: The UFC heavyweight has won two in a row, but says he’s still working to reach his potential. read news >>

UFC Zagreb Free Fight: Junior dos Santos TKOs Frank Mir to Defend the Belt

  • 26 days ago
  • 13 views

Junior dos Santos steps into the Octagon opposite Ben Rothwell at UFC Zagreb on Sunday, but first, watch him defend the UFC heavyweight title against Frank Mir. read news >>

Ahead of UFC Fight Night 86, Junior Dos Santos knows in his heart he'll be champ again

  • 26 days ago
  • 4 views

ZAGREB, Croatia – Junior Dos Santos has fallen on rough times in recent years. Following a 10-fight winning streak, the Brazilian lost his heavyweight title to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 in December 2 read news >>

Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber finding new ways to annoy each other all these years later (Yahoo Sports)

  • 25 days ago
  • 20 views

From Yahoo Sports: Cruz and Faber aren't pulling any punches ahead of their long-awaited trilogy fight. read news >>

Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber finding new ways to annoy each other all these years later (Yahoo Sports)

  • 25 days ago
  • 16 views

From Yahoo Sports: Cruz and Faber aren't pulling any punches ahead of their long-awaited trilogy fight. read news >>

Who ya got?!? Fellow fighters predict Ben Rothwell vs. Junior Dos Santos

  • 25 days ago
  • 19 views

ZAGREB, Croatia – Who wins UFC Fight Night 86’s heavyweight headliner between former champion Junior Dos Santos and rising contender Ben Rothwell? Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, V read news >>

UFC Zagreb Joe Rogan Video Preview: Ben Rothwell vs. Junior dos Santos

  • 25 days ago
  • 94 views

Joe Rogan previews UFC Fight Night Zagreb's main event. Ben Rothwell declared war on the heavyweight division and said he will have the belt. Junior Dos Santos stands in the way. read news >>

Ben Rothwell Gets Chance to Win One for the Weird Against Junior Dos Santos

  • 25 days ago
  • 10 views

Even in a UFC heavyweight division renowned for its weirdness, Ben Rothwell stands apart. Set aside for a moment his late career swing into wizarding. Long before Rothwell went public with his commit read news >>