Since we've got such a big fight coming up tomorrow, I figured I'd throw a little something out there about how I became a Cain fan. I was eased into MMA fandom by a friend and his family, and basically just watched it whenever they did. Then a couple of my other friends and my brother started watching it, and it just kind of grew from there.
One of the earlier fights I saw was UFC 81, where Brock Lesnar made his debut and tapped out to Frank Mir. Going into the fight, I didn't know a whole lot except that "Frank Mir was really good before his motorcycle accident" and "Brock Lesnar used to be in the WWE". Watching some of the interviews, I just kind of got the impression that I wouldn't be fans of either of them, but that I really didn't like Brock because he (a. Used to be in the WWE, and (2. Came off as a prick. Plus he's xbox hooj so that counted against him. Anyhow, Brock lost and all was well, but he sure didn't look as bad as I expected a "Fake WWE wrestler" to be. At the time I didn't really understand the importance of his collegiate wrestling pedigree, but I (and other Brock haters) got the message after he started holding/beating down more and more guys, eventually taking the heavyweight belt from Randy Couture (who I thought, and still think, was just a kickass guy).
So by that time, I was pretty firmly in the "Brock-hate" camp. I'm not entirely stupid, I know he's an amazing athlete with amazing wrestling abilities and decent power in his hands. That having been said, I think he's an ass. Flipping off the crowd, a weird half-humble-half-arrogant demeanor, and just coming off as a bully really had me against him. I was pulling hardcore for Shane Carwin to knock his lights out. I was sure he could pull it off; I was amped up all week. Then it came, and he almost did it. Watching Brock flee from his punches gave me an almost child-like glee. But then the tide turned, Carwin gassed, and Brock sank the choke on him. A few of my MMA-friends lorded it over me for weeks and proclaimed Brock as the greatest.
"He's too big. He's too strong. He's too fast. Nobody can stop him." But Brock still just struck me as a bully. When things were going his way, he was a giant dropping hammerfists and dominating the competition. But I had seen the way he ran from Carwin's hands, and I knew that someone could do it. As soon as he faced real resistance, he would crumple. But who would it be?
Enter Cain Velasquez. I didn't know too much about him going in to the fight, but I had heard good things. I was rooting for him. I knew if he could get knuckles to chin he could win the fight. And yet the doubts still lingered. "Brock is 300 pounds of monster, he'll just hold him down and hammerfist him like everyone else." And going in, that's kind of what it looked like. Cain's not a huge dude, standing next to Velasquez he looked like lamb to the slaughter. At least to my untrained eye. And then they fought.
And Cain rolled over the guy who looked about 50 pounds bigger. Every time Brock tried to take him down he threw it off or bounced back like a pogo stick. Then he started punching Brock, and the BrockBreakdance (Brockdance?) was forever etched in my memory. A relatively small heavyweight dominating a much larger opponent through superior technical ability and an amazing work ethic just spoke to me.
Since then I've jumped headfirst onto the Cain bandwagon. I've watched all his old fights and eagerly awaited his next one. And now he's got a real challenge. As much as I also like Junior Dos Santos (and he just seems like he'd be a great guy all-around), Cain is still my favorite heavyweight. Some people say he's got a boring personality, but I kind of like the picture. A nice, quiet, hard-working guy who can go out and kick some ass. He doesn't talk a lot of shit, he just shuts his mouth and does his job. I can identify with that, or I'd like to think I can anyway. So while I won't be sad if JDS wins, I will be sad if it means I have to see Cain lose. But either way, it'll be a great fight and they both deserve it, so make sure you talk all of your friends into watching it.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought and if any of you guys felt the same way.