It wasn’t the comeback Cain Velasquez had hoped for, but after being forced to tap-out for the first time in his career against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188 on Saturday night, the Mexican-American heavyweight is not making any excuses for his defeat.
As he said at the UFC 188 post-fight news conference, according to Fox Sports.
“No excuses, Fabricio was the better guy tonight. He fought with great technique, he was very relaxed, so he was just the better guy tonight.”
Velasquez, 32, has been UFC heavyweight champion since regaining the title in September 2012 and was defending the title for the third time – after successfully seeing off both Antonio Silva and Junior Dos Santos in 2013 – but this was his first fight in almost two years. Knee and shoulder injuries kept him from competing through out 2014, forcing the match with Werdum, originally scheduled for last November to be postponed after he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus and knee ligaments.
UFC 188 was Cain Velasquez first time in the ring in 602 days due to injury. pic.twitter.com/8vMXr649j6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 14, 2015
But Velasquez refused to blame the long layoff for what was a sloppy, below par performance for a fighter hitherto renown for his superb conditioning and stamina. As reported earlier on Inquisitr, Velasquez didn’t look his usual self as Werdum – a 10-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion – dominated from start to finish before forcing an exhausted Velasquez to tap out in the third round.
According to MMA Fighting, though, the long layoff had taken its toll on Velasquez, and he simply wasn’t the same man who had dominated opponent after opponent throughout his UFC career. UFC president Dana White, speaking to MMA Fighting had no doubt that the long layoff – and the resulting “ring rust” had been a factor.
“There’s been guys who’ve proved me wrong with my ring rust theory, but 99.9 percent of the time, layoff of almost two years you’re gonna have ring rust……..and you come into this altitude, it’s tough, man. It’s tough.”
Fighting at a high altitude in Mexico City – with its thin air and limited oxygen – seemed to hamper Velasquez a whole lot more than it did his 37-year old challenger, perhaps a consequence of spending just two weeks training in Mexico City prior to the fight. By contrast, Werdum and his team were in Mexico City for a little over a month of training ahead of UFC 188.
Velasquez, again, refused to use that as an excuse, even though he admitted it have been inadequate.
“I was here two weeks before the fight, maybe that wasn’t enough…”
Velasquez has bounced back from adversity in the past, recovering from a bad defeat to Dos Santos in 2011 before going on to beat him twice. Whether he can do that again – given the long layoff and injuries – remains to be seen. But the man himself seems determined to do it again, as he told MMA Fighting.
“The plan is always to come back to training and get better. That’s what we have to do. Keep that hunger. That’s the plan.”
Would anyone bet against another Cain Velasquez comeback?
[Photo by Alexis Cuarezma]