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Cain Velasquez won’t return in 2017: ‘I’m not there yet, but I’m close’

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The former UFC Heavyweight Champion is taking his time returning to the cage.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Cain Velasquez in a cage or out in public. Since his TKO of Travis Browne in 2016 and his removal from UFC 207, Velasquez has kept quiet.

What has the former UFC Heavyweight Champion been doing in his off time?

“[I’ve been with] the family, and also just healing, you know,” Velasquez told Ariel Helwani.

With a baby due in November, Vealsquez is taking his time getting back into the cage.

“I’m close. I’m not there yet but I’m close. Just focusing on, this time, the baby we have coming along. I want to be there for that. He’s due in November so it’s been just a really good process of healing and being with the family.”

Velasquez has suffered a number of setbacks in his career due to injuries. His head coach, Javier Mendes, admitted to ESPN that his biggest regret as a coach was letting Velasquez fight Junior dos Santos with an injured knee.

Velasquez was pulled from UFC 180 in 2014 due to a torn meniscus, UFC Fight Night 82 due to an injury and UFC 207 due to bone spurs in his back. Velasquez wants to make sure that he’s completely healed before making a comeback.

“I want to be 100% ready for the fans. I need to stop messing around and coming back to early. I can’t do that. I can’t afford that anymore. I gotta be 100% ready to come back, and I’ll do that.”

When asked about a return date or a possible opponent, Velasquez kept mum on the issue.

“That’s not up to me. I’ll ask for whoever. No, we haven’t talked yet. I’m, again, with the family and just recuperating still.

“[A return] this year? Probably not. Next year? Yeah.”