Cain Velasquez appears to be preparing for a return to the Octagon — erm, another fight.
Last week, the former UFC heavyweight champion posted a photo of him at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, hinting that he is nearing a fight booking. Velasquez hasn’t fought since July 2016, but he doesn’t want fans to “call it a comeback.”
Velasquez’s longtime teammate at American Kickboxing Academy in California, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, said last month that Velasquez was back in the gym. “DC” said Velasquez was taking it slow, but still making progress and getting closer to full health — and another bout.
The official UFC PI Instagram account also posted a photo of Velasquez with UFC vice president of athlete development (and UFC Hall of Famer) Forrest Griffin.
The journey continues for Cain Velasquez,” the post read. “We look forward to assisting the process.”
Velasquez’s career has been plagued by several injuries that require a long recovery period (and sometimes surgery, too). He has reigned over the division twice, first winning the title with a stoppage of Brock Lesnar in 2010. After losing it one year later to Junior dos Santos, he beat the Brazilian in a 2012 rematch, becoming a two-time champ.
After a twenty-month layoff, he returned to the cage against then-interim titleholder Fabricio Werdum, only to get tapped out and lose the title. Velasquez did not fight for another year, but returned at UFC 200 in summer 2016 and stopped Travis Browne in the first round, in what stands as his most recent bout to date.
Velasquez was supposed to rematch Werdum at UFC 207 in December 2016, but he was pulled from the card during fight week due to injury complications. He underwent back surgery in January 2017 and has been sidelined ever since.
Velasquez did not give a timeline for his next fight.