Earlier this month, Cain Velasquez revealed that he’s headed straight for back surgery after his fight with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207.
Velasquez, a two-time heavyweight champion, is in so much pain that he struggles to stay stood upright for longer than 10 minutes. But the American Kickboxing Academy representative could find himself locked in the cage with Werdum for 15 minutes at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 30. He lost the title and was submitted just after the 12-minute mark in their championship epic at UFC 188.
"It's an achy pain that goes down your leg, and it gets to a point where if you're standing for 10 minutes, you have to sit down," Velasquez told Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. "If you're going out for a while, a half-hour, you know it's going to be pretty painful. You have to sit down and take the compression off your back.
"The surgery is basically shaving off some bone to make room for my sciatic nerve. After the last surgery, the doctor said I might be pain-free forever, but knowing how I train and what I do as a fighter, the pain could come back. I didn't really know how long I was going to feel good. It ended up being about a year."
Velasquez has been using Cannabidiol (CBD) to ease the pain and says the alternative treatment has worked wonders for his training.
"It's the only thing that allows me to still train, and I'm not taking a harmful painkiller into my body that I'll later become addicted to," he said. "I don't know how everyone is going to feel about me saying this, but this is just one of the hard facts we as fighters have to go through. In the past, in the NFL, players have gotten addicted to painkillers. I don't want to be an addict of some sort."
CBD is an active compound in Cannabis and has emerged as a popular alternative treatment for a range of medical conditions. Cannabidiol has anti-inflammatory properties and is even reported to be an effective treatment for psychosis and other mental health disorders.
Despite the ongoing pain, Velasquez claims to have prepared correctly for ‘Vai Cavalo’ and is determined to avenge his loss to the Brazilian.
"As far as preparation, I've done everything," Velasquez said. "I've sparred, wrestled. I'm not missing workouts at all. I've done my conditioning -- everything. I feel great going into this.
"This fight is about getting revenge, and that's why I like it. It's a fight I asked for, and it's a fight I really wanted."
UFC 207, which features Werdum vs. Velasquez II on the main card, takes place December 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.