Vengeful Cain Velasquez looking for redemption against Junior dos Santos at UFC 155 (Yahoo! Sports)


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

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 >>

Related News

  • 15 days ago
  • 1097 views

Will the fifteenth time be the charm? Alistair Overeem will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon when he faces Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 50, which is scheduled for Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Ledyard, Conn., on Sept. 5, 2014. Overeem -- who is now 100-percent healthy -- recently returned to the win column at UFC 169 with a decision win over Frank Mir after suffering back-to-back losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne in 2013. He'll look to make it two straight wins when he faces more

  • 14 days ago
  • 50 views

UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem is set to return to the Octagon on September 5th when he faces Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 50, but this time something will be different. While much of his more recent U.S. run was done as part of the Blackzilians camp, now Overeem returns to the cage as part (for now) as a student of the famed duo of Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While things clearly didn't work out Overeem in Florida with the Blackzilians, the former Strikefor more

  • 14 days ago
  • 72 views

Former Strikeforce and K-1 champion Alistair Overeem still wants a piece of former UFC heavyweight titleholder Junior dos Santos, even though his next opponent is already booked. The Reem briefly mentioned his desire to square off with the Brazilian power puncher when he appeared on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour, per Luke Thomas of MMA Fighting. "I'm focused and I want to really fight," Overeem said. "I'm very optimistic [a bout with dos Santos] is going to come and I want it to come. I could see more

  • 13 days ago
  • 31 views

UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem discusses his upcoming fight with Ben Rowthwell, and why he believes a fight with Junior dos Santos may be on the horizon. Ben Rothwell may be the lowest ranked heavyweight that Alistair Overeem has faced since he joined the UFC ranks, but after playing with fire one too many times, the Dutch kickboxer is not prepared to take any "265lb beast" lightly. The former Strikeforce heavyweight champion is scheduled to meet Rothwell at UFC Fight Night: Connecticut this c more

  • a day ago
  • 15 views

Stipe Miocic still wants to fight Junior dos Santos, and that feeling is mutual. Former UFC champion "Cigano" hasn’t fought since his third bout with heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez in October, and the knockout artist told MMAFighting.com he’s hoping to face Miocic in his return to the Octagon later this year. "I saw this October card in Rio as a possibility," dos Santos said of the UFC 179 card scheduled for Oct. 25 in Rio de Janeiro, "but my coaches think it’s too soon to be back because I’ more

  • a day ago
  • 21 views

Admit it, the UFC heavyweight division just isn't the same without "Cigano" knocking people out every three months. We miss you! Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight titleholder Junior dos Santos is slowly but surely returning from the injury that knocked him from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3" mixed martial arts (MMA) event earlier this year in Brazil. He stranded Stipe Miocic on FOX Sports 1, who went on to flatten Fabio Maldonado. The good news is, both fighters are more

  • 6 days ago
  • 4 views

Stipe Miocic still wants that fight with Junior dos Santos. The Cleveland-based heavyweight had what he thought was his potential breakthrough fight when he was scheduled to meet the former UFC heavyweight champion on May 31 in Brazil. But dos Santos had to pull out of the bout with a broken hand, and Miocic instead went on to record a fast knockout of Fabio Maldonado, who was coming up from light heavyweight on short notice. So with nothing else on his agenda at the moment, the 12-1 Miocic says more

  • a day ago
  • 232 views

"Cigano" believes Overeem and Barnett called him out just to promote their names; says he's up to fight Stipe Miocic. Junior dos Santos, who was recently called out to fight Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, isn't interested in either of them for his next bout on the octagon. Interviewed by Tatame.com.br, 'Cigano' remembered that "The Reem" had his chance to make a fight between them happen and mentioned that the Dutch Heavyweight will face Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Souza, on more

  • 15 days ago
  • 26 views

Fabricio Werdum will find himself in a familiar position at UFC 180 in November. He'll be facing another opponent who seemingly has no weakness and will be the underdog to UFC champion Cain Velasquez, but the Brazilian knows what it takes to shock the world. Werdum shocked the MMA world in 2010 as he defeated the greatest heavyweight—and some believe greatest MMA fighter overall—Fedor Emelianenko by submission in the first round. Werdum's coach, Rafael Cordeiro, speaking to MMAFighting.com, beli more