Part injury, part business, all bad. That's the diagnosis of heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez's potential UFC return. Ariel Helwani dropped the news on UFC Tonight, that the champ has been cleared by his doctor to start training on his repaired shoulder again, but lingering problems with his left hand are going to keep him shelved for a while. Add in that the UFC is working to line him up with the TUF Latin America coaching gig opposite Fabricio Werdum and it's highly unlikely that we'll be seeing Velasquez back in the octagon before next year. (transcription via Cage Potato)
I spoke to his wrestling coach and he told me that Cain's doctor cleared him to use his right hand in training two weeks ago, but he's not sure if Cain's ready to use the left hand yet. He's not sure if he'll be ready by November. He said he won't rush into the fight that's targeted for then. He won't fight until he's 100 percent. There's talk of Cain coaching The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, and the UFC has approached him about it, and they could film it in May in Las Vegas. It would be a likely scenario that he'd coach against Werdum now.
At a time when the UFC is at a serious lack for star power, Velasquez just can't seem to get his going. Between his own tendency toward the "strong, silent" role and an inability to stay healthy enough to compete Velasquez's star power isn't dwindling, but it's not growing either. The TUF Latin America show might be a decent way to court an audience that the UFC has long hoped to tie Velasquez to, but until that happens (if it happens at all) fans are going to have to head to Fight Pass if they want to see the champ in action.