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Cain Velasquez[6] (born July 28, 1982) is an American professional wrestler and retired professional mixed martial artist.[7] He is a former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.[8] As a professional wrestler, he has competed for the Mexican promotion AAA and is currently signed to WWE.

Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez.jpg
Velasquez in 2010
BornCain Velasquez
(1982-07-28) July 28, 1982 (age 37)
Salinas, California, United States[1]
NationalityAmerican
Height6 ft 1 12 in (187 cm)[2]
Weight248 lb (112 kg; 17 st 10 lb)
DivisionHeavyweight
Reach77 in (196 cm)[3]
Fighting out ofSan Jose, California, United States
TeamAmerican Kickboxing Academy
TrainerWrestling: Daniel Cormier
Muay Thai: Javier Mendez
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Leandro Vieira
Strength: Joe Grosso
Boxing: Rosendo Sanchez
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Leandro Vieira[4]
WrestlingNCAA Division I Wrestling[5]
Years active2006–2019
Mixed martial arts record
Total17
Wins14
By knockout12
By decision2
Losses3
By knockout2
By submission1
UniversityArizona State University
Children2
Notable school(s)Kofa High School
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Early life and educationEdit

Cain Velasquez was born in Salinas, California to Efrain and Isabel Velasquez. Efrain moved to the U.S. from Sinaloa, Mexico as an undocumented immigrant,[9] where he met American-born Isabel. They started a relationship and later married, which allowed Efrain to attain U.S. citizenship.[10] The Velasquez family had three children: Efrain Jr., Adela and Cain.

Velasquez was raised in Yuma, Arizona.[11] He graduated from Kofa High School, where he compiled a record of 110–10 in four years of wrestling, including winning the 5A Arizona Wrestling Championship twice. Velasquez also played football for three years. As a senior, he served as captain of both his wrestling and football teams. As a football player, he played linebacker.[11]

After high school, he attended Iowa Central Community College, wrestling for one season (2001–02) and winning the NJCAA National Championship in the heavyweight (285 lb limit) division.[12] Afterwards, Velasquez transferred to Arizona State University. He wrestled for the Sun Devils for three seasons and compiled a record of 86–17, placing 5th in the country in 2005, and 4th in 2006. While at ASU, Velasquez also wrestled alongside future UFC fighters Ryan Bader and C.B. Dollaway.[13]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Velasquez began his mixed martial arts career right after college, joining American Kickboxing Academy. Velasquez is a brown belt in Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu under Dave Camarillo,[14] a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Leandro Viera, and an NCAA Division I Wrestler.[15]

Early careerEdit

Velasquez made his MMA debut on October 7, 2006, against Jesse Fujarczyk at Strikeforce: Tank vs. Buentello, he won by TKO in the first round. Velasquez faced then undefeated Jeremiah Constant at BodogFight: St. Petersburg, he won via TKO in the first round at the 4 minute mark.[16]

Velasquez made his UFC debut against Brad Morris at UFC 83 and won by TKO in the first round.

In his next fight, Velasquez defeated Jake O'Brien at UFC Fight Night 14 via TKO in round one.[17]

Velasquez then faced Denis Stojnić at UFC Fight Night 17 and the fight was stopped in round two with Velasquez earning the victory by TKO. Velasquez earned Knockout of the Night honors for his performance.[18]

Velasquez's next fight was at UFC 99 against former kickboxer and heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo. Velasquez was once again dominant, landing 251 strikes and winning the bout by unanimous decision.[19]

His next opponent was expected to be Shane Carwin[20] with the winner likely challenging for the UFC Heavyweight Championship held by Brock Lesnar. However, that bout was scrapped[21] and Velasquez was instead told he would be fighting UFC newcomer Ben Rothwell at UFC 104.[22][23] He defeated Rothwell by second-round TKO.[24]

Velasquez faced former Pride Heavyweight Champion and former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira on February 20, 2010, at UFC 110.[25] Going into the fight, some commentators predicted that Nogueira would take the victory due to a supposed lack of striking power for Velasquez.[26] They were proven wrong when Velasquez defeated Nogueira via first-round KO, earning Knockout of the Night honors.[26]

UFC Heavyweight ChampionEdit

With his victory over Nogueira, Velasquez earned a UFC Heavyweight Championship fight with then-champ Brock Lesnar at UFC 121. UFC President Dana White announced via SportsNation that the UFC would be bringing back UFC Primetime to promote Lesnar vs. Velasquez.[27] Velasquez defeated Lesnar via TKO in the first round, earning Knockout of the Night honors.

Velasquez suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder during his fight with Lesnar and was expected to be sidelined for at least six to eight months.[28] Surgery on the shoulder was successful and Velasquez planned to return as early as Fall 2011.[29]

Velasquez was expected to make his first title defense against Junior dos Santos, with a target date of November 19, 2011, at UFC 139,[30] but the fight was later moved to November 12, 2011, to headline the first UFC on Fox 1 event.[31] Velasquez suffered his first loss, via KO (punches), at 1 minute and 4 seconds of the first round.[32] While not public information at the time, it was later revealed that Dos Santos already had a minor knee injury (a torn meniscus), and took an injection of cortisone into the knee before the fight, followed by information revealing that Velasquez had re-injured his rotator cuff approximately a week before the fight. Junior dos Santos would undergo knee surgery following the fight.[33]

Velasquez was originally set to fight Frank Mir on May 26, 2012, at UFC 146.[34] However, Mir was moved up to face Junior dos Santos after Alistair Overeem was suspended for elevated testosterone levels. Velasquez instead faced Antônio Silva.[35] Velasquez defeated Silva via first-round TKO, in a fight that saw Silva bleed profusely from his forehead. After the fight, Dana White strongly hinted that Velasquez would be the next fighter to challenge for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. It is widely thought that the reason White made the decision to have the rematch with Dos Santos at such an unexpected time, was because of the fact that both fighters were injured going into their first fight.[36]

A rematch was expected with Junior dos Santos on September 22, 2012, at UFC 152.[37] However, it was later announced by Dana White that the date for the rematch had been set to December 29 at UFC 155.[38] In the rematch, Velasquez defeated Dos Santos in a dominating performance[39] via unanimous decision (50–45, 50–43, and 50–44) to regain the UFC heavyweight title.[40][41] Velasquez became the first fighter in UFC history to post triple digits in significant strikes landed and double digits in takedowns landed in a single fight, landing 111 significant strikes and 11 takedowns in his second fight against Dos Santos.[42]

In his first title defense Velasquez defeated Antônio Silva in a rematch on May 25, 2013, at UFC 160.[43] He defeated him via TKO (punches) at 1:21 seconds into the first round.

A rubber match with Junior dos Santos took place at UFC 166 on October 19, 2013, in Houston, Texas.[44] Velasquez defended his title for a second time again defeating dos Santos in a mostly one-sided affair ending in TKO at 3:09 of the fifth round.

On April 29, 2014, the UFC announced that Velasquez and Fabrício Werdum had been selected as coaches for the inaugural installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, with the two expected to face each other on November 15, 2014, at UFC 180.[45][46] However, on October 21, 2014, it was announced that Velasquez pulled out of the bout due to a torn meniscus and sprained MCL in his right knee, and will be replaced by Mark Hunt.[47] On October 23, 2014, Velasquez underwent successful surgery to repair his torn meniscus.[48]

A rescheduled bout with UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Fabrício Werdum took place on June 13, 2015, at UFC 188.[49] In a back-and-forth affair, Velasquez lost the fight via guillotine choke submission in the third round.[50]

Post title loss, injuries and hiatusEdit

A rematch with Werdum was expected to take place on February 6, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 82 until both fighters backed out citing injuries.[51]

Velasquez next faced Travis Browne on July 9, 2016, at UFC 200.[52] He won the fight via TKO in the closing seconds of the first round.[53]

The rematch against Werdum was rescheduled and expected to take place on December 30, 2016, at UFC 207.[54] However the Nevada State Athletic Commission failed to approve Velasquez to fight, determining after physical examinations and interviews that he was unfit to compete due to bone spurs on his back.[55]

As the first fight of his new, four-fight contract Velasquez headlined UFC's inaugural event on ESPN, UFC on ESPN 1 against Francis Ngannou on February 17, 2019.[56][57] He lost the fight via knockout in the first round.[58]

On October 4, 2019, after Velasquez's first appearance for the WWE, it was revealed that Velasquez will be withdrawing from the USADA testing pool to focus on his professional wrestling career.[59] Subsequently, Velasquez announced his retirement from MMA on October 11, 2019.[60]

Fighting styleEdit

Velasquez has a style that could be described as "swarming". He moves forward constantly, giving opponents very little room to land clean strikes, all while utilizing powerful and extremely swift punching combinations. He typically starts with a jab, follows up with a hard straight right, and then adds hooks and uppercuts as the fight progresses.[61] He is strong in the clinch, where he throws long combinations that typically end in a takedown.[61]

If Velasquez knocks his opponent to the ground during a fight, he often uses grappling skills to maintain a dominant position while he continues to strike from above.[61] He does not usually attempt submissions. All of his wins have either come by striking from punches, or by decision.[62]

Velasquez has also been praised consistently for his cardiovascular training; he has tremendous endurance that allows him to continue to fight aggressively after his opponents have become exhausted, earning him the nickname "Cardio Cain".[61] Velasquez's strong cardio also allows him to throw more strikes. As of July 2013, he was ranked Number 1 for the most strikes landed per minute in the UFC.[63]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Velasquez has been a fan of professional wrestling ever since he was young. On July 19, 2018, it was reported that he trained in the WWE Performance Center under head coach Norman Smiley and later attended Diamond Dallas Page's yoga session. He also attended an NXT televised event the previous night.[64]

Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (2019)Edit

In March 2019, it was announced that Velasquez signed a multi-match agreement with top Mexican lucha libre promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide as a heavyweight competitor. Velasquez made his debut for the promotion at Triplemanía XXVII in 6 man trios action, teaming with Cody Rhodes and Psycho Clown to take on Texano Jr, Taurus, and a mystery partner who turned out to be Killer Kross.[65] Velasquez's debut surprised many fans, as he donned a luchador mask through the whole match and displayed many athletic moves, such as using a hurricanrana. Velasquez picked up the victory for his team by submitting Texano, Jr. with a Kimura lock. Velasquez's in-ring debut received positive reviews by Dave Meltzer and many other professional wrestling journalists, as well as other professional wrestlers and American Kickboxing Academy teammate Daniel Cormier.[66]

WWE (2019–present)Edit

On October 4, 2019, on the first episode of SmackDown on Fox, which was also the show's 20th Anniversary, Velasquez made his WWE debut, accompanied by Rey Mysterio, coming out to confront and eventually attack Brock Lesnar after his WWE Championship victory as a measure of revenge for Lesnar attacking Mysterio and his son, Dominick, earlier in the week. Velasquez took Lesnar down and pummeled him with punches before Lesnar eventually escaped the ring and retreated.[67] It was announced that Velasquez would face Lesnar at Crown Jewel for the WWE Championship on October 31, 2019 in his in-ring debut.[68]

Personal lifeEdit

Velasquez speaks English and Spanish.[69] He has been a guest star on the Spanish-language television networks Telemundo and Univision,[70] as well as Mexico's Televisa Deportes.[71] In addition to his Spanish-language TV appearances, he was also a featured guest on the TBS late night show Lopez Tonight.[72]

Velasquez is known for sporting a prominent "Brown Pride" tattoo on his upper chest. He says this tattoo is a tribute to his Mexican heritage.[73][74]

Velasquez and his wife Michelle have a daughter born in 2009 and a son born in 2018.[75] The couple married on May 28, 2011.[76][77]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
17 matches 14 wins 3 losses
By knockout 12 2
By submission 0 1
By decision 2 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 14–3 Francis Ngannou KO (punches) UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez February 17, 2019 1 0:26 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 14–2 Travis Browne TKO (punches) UFC 200 July 9, 2016 1 4:57 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Performance of the Night.
Loss 13–2 Fabrício Werdum Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 188 June 13, 2015 3 2:13 Mexico City, Mexico Lost the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 13–1 Junior dos Santos TKO (slam and punch) UFC 166 October 19, 2013 5 3:09 Houston, Texas, United States Defended the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 12–1 Antônio Silva TKO (punches) UFC 160 May 25, 2013 1 1:21 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 11–1 Junior dos Santos Decision (unanimous) UFC 155 December 29, 2012 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 10–1 Antônio Silva TKO (punches) UFC 146 May 26, 2012 1 3:36 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 9–1 Junior dos Santos KO (punches) UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos November 12, 2011 1 1:04 Anaheim, California, United States Lost the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 9–0 Brock Lesnar TKO (punches) UFC 121 October 23, 2010 1 4:12 Anaheim, California, United States Won the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Knockout of the Night.
Win 8–0 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira KO (punches) UFC 110 February 21, 2010 1 2:20 Sydney, Australia Knockout of the Night.
Win 7–0 Ben Rothwell TKO (punches) UFC 104 October 24, 2009 2 0:58 Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 6–0 Cheick Kongo Decision (unanimous) UFC 99 June 13, 2009 3 5:00 Cologne, Germany
Win 5–0 Denis Stojnić TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lauzon vs. Stephens February 7, 2009 2 2:34 Tampa, Florida, United States Knockout of the Night.
Win 4–0 Jake O'Brien TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin July 19, 2008 1 2:02 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 3–0 Brad Morris TKO (punches) UFC 83 April 19, 2008 1 2:10 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Win 2–0 Jeremiah Constant TKO (punches) BodogFight: St. Petersburg December 16, 2006 1 4:00 St. Petersburg, Russia
Win 1–0 Jesse Fujarczyk TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Tank vs. Buentello October 7, 2006 1 1:58 Fresno, California, United States

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit