MONTREAL -- You know you're a bad ass when you can't even pay people to fight you.
This is exactly what happened early in the career of newly crowned UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Velasquez (9-0) travelled down to Mexico in October of 2007 with Arizona State University wrestling teammates and future UFC fighters C.B. (The Doberman) Dollaway and Ryan (Darth) Bader to compete at SE Vale Tudo.
I had two fights under my belt and I was looking for more fights, Velasquez said at a UFC Fight Club Q&A. So I went to Mexico and my opponent backed out of the fight. There was somebody else there fighting and his opponent backed out. So we tried to get a fight together, but he didn't want to fight. We tried to give him some of my purse and he still wouldn't fight. So I ended up not fighting that day. Bader and C.B. fought that night and beat people up.
Despite going home empty handed at the event, Velasquez's next bout saw him earn a TKO victory over Brad Morris in his UFC debut at UFC 83 in Montreal. Less than three years later, he stopped Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 to capture the title.
Velasquez said he didn't expect to reach the top of the mountain so quickly.
No, I didn't (think I'd be champion so soon), Velasquez said. But if it took three, four, or five years, it wouldn't have mattered. I knew it was going to happen.
My first UFC fight was here when (Georges) St. Pierre fought (Matt) Serra the second time and it was a great crowd.
Velasquez is set to defend his belt against hard-hitting Brazilian Junior (Cigano) dos Santos. A date has yet to be announced for the fight. Though he considers Dos Santos (12-1) the top striker in the weight class, Velasquez said that won't stop him from trading punches.
I think Dos Santos is the best stand-up fighter in the UFC heavyweight division, Velasquez said. I plan to fight everywhere -- on the feet, wrestle with him and go to the ground. I expect to use all aspects of MMA with him.
I would definitely stand up with him and mix it up with punches and kicks. If the takedown's there, I'll take it, but I won't force it.
Once the upcoming title fight is in the books, there isn't an immediate challenger for the winner.
The UFC attempted to sign a rubber match between Lesnar (5-2) and Frank Mir, but was met with a negative reaction from fans. Shane Carwin had to bow out of a fight with Roy (Big Country) Nelson in order to have back surgery and now Nelson (15-5) is tangled up in a contract dispute with Roy Jones Jr. Square Ring, Inc., who he fought for in March of 2009.
Though the heavyweight division is a bit of a mess at the moment, Velasquez said he would be interested in starring in a season of The Ultimate Fighter and that Lesnar would make for a fun opposing coach.