Many consider Cain Velasquez to be the best heavyweight fighter in UFC history. His dominating performances and exceptional wrestling skills propelled him to the forefront of MMA. Velasquez’s great record and memorable fights helped cement his place in UFC heavyweight history.
From his humble beginnings and wrestling career through his reign as the heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, this article will cover it all. We’ll take a look at how he changed MMA forever and what he left behind when his career was over.
Early life and wrestling background
On July 28, 1982, Cain Velasquez was born in Salinas, California, to parents who had moved there from Mexico. He was brought up with a strong work ethic and a sense of discipline in a bilingual environment.
Velasquez discovered his passion for wrestling during his high school years and blossomed into a star performer. He won the California state title twice and went on to wrestle at Arizona State University thanks to a scholarship he received. Velasquez continued his success from high school to college, when he was named to the All-American team twice.
Transition to mixed martial arts
After Velasquez’s collegiate wrestling career ended, he dove headfirst into MMA training. He enrolled at San Jose, California’s American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), where he trained with future UFC stars like Daniel Cormier and Jon Fitch.
In 2006, Velasquez made his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut and promptly won a string of notable bouts. He demonstrated his prowess as a wrestler in the octagon, swiftly becoming a leading contender in the heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Early career and notable victories
In Velasquez’s early career, he had a string of resounding wins over formidable opponents. He has established himself as a serious contender in the UFC heavyweight category with victories over fighters like Brad Morris, Jake O’Brien, and Ben Rothwell.
Velasquez’s first attempt at the title came in 2010 when he faced the reigning champion, Brock Lesnar. Velasquez had a great first round, but Lesnar knocked him out in the second to win the fight.
First title shot and defeat
Although Velasquez’s defeat against Lesnar was a setback, he swiftly got back on track and continued to crush his competition. After consecutive victories over Antonio Silva and Junior Dos Santos, a rematch with Dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight belt has been lined up.
Part 2: The Legacy of Cain Velasquez
The rematch with Junior Dos Santos and reclaiming the title
A rematch for the UFC heavyweight belt between Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos took place in 2012. From the opening bell to the last bell, Velasquez showed off his superior punching and wrestling. He won the UFC heavyweight championship back from Dos Santos by unanimous decision.
Dominance as champion and victories over
In his title defense, Velasquez remained unbeatable inside the octagon. He successfully defended his belt against formidable opponents like Antonio Silva (whom he knocked out in the first round) and Junior Dos Santos (whom he defeated by unanimous decision for a second time).
A bout for the UFC heavyweight title pitted Velasquez against Fabricio Werdum in 2015. Sadly, Velasquez’s tenure as champion was ended with a third-round submission loss to Werdum.
Injuries and time away from the sport
Due to a string of injuries, Velasquez’s reign as UFC heavyweight champion was cut short. Back and knee ailments plagued him throughout his career, sidelining him for extended periods of time.
In 2019, Velasquez returned to the octagon but was knocked out in the first round by Francis Ngannou. He retired from mixed martial arts immediately after the fight, citing a desire to devote more time to his family and explore other career options.
Legacy beyond his fighting career
Velasquez’s career in the UFC heavyweight division is unblemished despite his time away from the sport and injury setbacks. Because of his exceptional work ethic, striking prowess, and grappling prowess, he is considered one of the best fighters of all time.
Beyond his time in the ring, Velasquez has made an effect as a coach and spokesperson for the sport. He has been an MMA analyst and has trained several promising young fighters at AKA.
The significance of Cain Velasquez to the heavyweight division of the UFC and to MMA as a whole cannot be understated. His dominating performances and exceptional wrestling talents propelled him to stardom, establishing him as one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Despite the fact that Velasquez’s reign as champion was cut short by injury, his legacy lives on. He was a dominant fighter, a great representative for the sport, and an inspiration to athletes everywhere.