5 Things You Might Not Know About Cain Velasquez

By Guy Portman Feb 16, 2019


Cain Velasquez (14-2) is a former two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion. Following a lengthy injury-induced absence, Velasquez will be seeking a convincing win when he faces powerful striker Francis Ngannou at UFC on ESPN 1, which takes place Feb. 17 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

In the build-up to the eagerly-awaited heavyweight clash, here are five things that you might not know about American Kickboxing Academy’s Velasquez.

He usually wins by KO/TKO.

A remarkable 12 (86 percent) of Velasquez’s victories have come by way of knockout. Among his list of victims that have been disposed of in this manner are Ben Rothwell, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar, Junior dos Santos and Antonio Silva twice.

He has been inactive in recent years.

At UFC 166, Velasquez impressed in dispatching dos Santos via fifth-round TKO. However, he didn’t make an appearance in the Octagon again for the best part of two years. A torn meniscus and sprained MCL combo in his right knee initially kept him out of his next proposed bout, versus Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180. Finally, at UFC 188, Velasquez faced the highly decorated grappler. The match ended in defeat, as the champion was forced to succumb to a third-round guillotine choke. Over a year later at UFC 200, he returned to winning ways when he stopped Travis Browne by first-round TKO. Following the dismantling of Browne, Velasquez was supposed to rematch Werdum at UFC 207, in Dec. 2016, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission prevented him from doing so, citing bone spurs in his back. Now, over two and a half years removed from his last appearance, “Cardio Cain” is finally fit and set to return.

He’s of Mexican descent.

The California born Velasquez hails from Mexican heritage. His father Efrain was an illegal immigrant who was deported six times from the US before finally settling there. His fondness for his ancestral country is displayed by the “Brown Pride” tattoo, which he has imprinted on his chest and his choice of walkout music. Called “Los Mandados,” the song details the story of a Mexican immigrant attempting to cross the border into the United States.

He was a collegiate wrestling star.

Prior to becoming one of the all-time great heavyweight mixed martial artists, Velasquez was a formidable wrestler. He developed his skills in an outstanding high school wrestling career, which saw him compile a 110-10 record. After graduating from high school, Velasquez attended Iowa Community College, where he claimed first place in the NJCAA National Championship. He then transferred to wrestling powerhouse Arizona State University. There he studied for a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies while competing for the college’s famed Sun Devils wrestling team. During the 2004-05 season, Velasquez went on a 21-bout winning streak before losing in the semi-finals of the NCAA Championships. His college accomplishments include being an NCAA Division I All-American twice (2005, 2006) winning the Pac-10 Conference Championship twice (2005, 2006) and being the 2005 Pac-10 Conference Wrestler of the Year.

He’s the first major Mexican-American heavyweight combat sports champ.

Although there have been many Mexican-American combat sports champions, Velasquez is the first heavyweight fighter to achieve this accolade. This fact has made the former two-time UFC champion a sought-after commodity in the Spanish-speaking world. Velasquez has made guest appearances on Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo, as well as Mexico’s Televisa Deportes.

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