Both the knockout loss to Francis Ngannou and news of his professional wrestling debut at TripleMania led some fans to speculate that former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was retiring from mixed martial arts.
According to longtime coach Javier Mendez, however, Velasquez ‘can’t wait’ to back in the Octagon and fight.
“I would say 100 percent [that is] a panic response,” Mendez said of the retirement rumors on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “He hasn’t said anything. All I hear from him is he can’t wait to get back in.”
Fans feared the worst when Velasquez looked to have awkwardly twisted his knee during Ngannou’s knockout sequence at UFC on ESPN 1 but, according AKA’s Mendez, the 36-year-old was walking around just fine at Daniel Cormier’s recent 40th birthday party and showed no signs of injury.
“He was at Daniel Cormier’s [40th] birthday party that we all had [last month] and seemed fine,” Mendez said. “I didn’t really ask him how he was. We were just chatting about other stuff, but he was walking around fine. But I don’t know, I didn’t ask him. I figured he’d tell me if I needed to know something.”
Now 36-years-old, Velasquez’s prime years are behind him and Mendez can’t help but imagine how things could have been different, and what his legacy would have been, had it not been for a series of ‘mishaps’ and injuries that possibly prevented him from becoming the greatest heavyweight of all time.
“I’m honestly heartbroken,” Mendez said. “Here, in my opinion — this is my opinion, okay — I think he could’ve been the greatest heavyweight of all-time had none of these stupid things happened to him. I mean, there were some by his cause, some by my cause, some by just unforeseen things. And almost anybody that sees what he’s capable of doing and what he had been doing obviously knows that there’s no one like him.
“But this is an unforgiving sport, and he’s had a lot of mishaps happen to him. And like I said, some are my fault, some are his fault, some are other people’s fault. But it’s happened and we’ve just got to move forward. But, is it depressing? Yes, it is. It’s heartbreaking for me when I see these things happen to him.”
Velasquez will make his professional Mexican wrestling debut later this year, Aug. 3 at Arena Ciudad in Mexico City.