Q&A with UFC's Cain Velasquez

UFC's Cain Velasquez chatted with QMI Agency's resident MMA expert, Neil Springer, this week....

UFC's Cain Velasquez chatted with QMI Agency's resident MMA expert, Neil Springer, this week. (Getty Images)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:54 PM ET

TORONTO - It was only a year ago that Cain Velasquez dethroned Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight championship at UFC 121.

Though his first title defence was set to be against Brazilian slugger Junior dos Santos months later, a torn rotator cuff forced him under the knife and hes been sidelined since.

The two will finally meet Nov. 12 in a bout that has the potential to be the most-watched in MMA history when the UFC debuts on FOX. The fight will air in Canada on Sportsnet.

Velasquez took time out from his busy training schedule to talk to QMI Agency.

Q: Youve been the champion for a year, but havent had the chance to defend your belt yet. How frustrating has that been for you?

A: It was hard, but I just listened to the doctor and worked on getting back to 100% as soon as possible. I just look at it that way.

Q: How has the shoulder been in camp? Did it feel stronger after the surgery and rehab or was there an adjustment period?

A: In the beginning, it was an adjustment. I just had to work around it until it got stronger and now it feels 100%. Ive been at it for a while, so it hasnt been an issue.

Q: Have you brought anyone special in to help you prepare for dos Santos?

A: Business as usual. Ive just trained to fight against someone who has really good boxing like he does.

Q: You two fighting on FOX could be the biggest fight in MMA history. Does that add any extra pressure for you?

A: Theres no pressure at all. Im not really thinking about it. Im just thinking about the fight in general.

Q: How do you size up dos Santos? Hes looked good in three-round fights, but showed signs of fatigue against Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson.

A: I think hes a well-rounded fighter. I think hes one of the best boxers in MMA. He has good takedown defence and if he does get taken down, hes able to pop up right away. And he does throw kicks here and there. Hes just really well-rounded. I dont see him as having a gas tank problem at all. Hes been in fights with a bunch of tough guys and hes beaten them up every round.

Q: Guys have had a hard time taking him down in the UFC. As a wrestler, do you see it as a personal challenge to put him on his back?

A: If (the opportunity) is there Ill take it, but thats not the game plan going in. He is good in that position, but Im not afraid to put him in that position. If I dont get it, Im going to stand up with him, punch with him and kick with him. Were going to do everything.

Q: The winner of Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem is expected to be next in line. Who do you think wins that fight?

A: Well have to wait and see what happens with Brock, if he can take down Overeem and keep him down. Thats going to be his biggest test and if he can do that, I think hell get the win.

Q: How do you think youd stack up against Overeem?

A: I dont know. Overeem is more of a stand-up fighter, so Id try to exploit some other areas that he really hasnt been in. Hes a tough guy and hes been one of the best for a while, but Im just thinking about the fight with dos Santos.

Q: Daniel Cormier has credited you a lot with his development as of late. What has it been like seeing him progress so quickly?

A: Hes just growing so fast. Hes just an amazing athlete and can pick it all up so fast. MMA as a whole boxing and kickboxing hes just putting them together so well with his wrestling. Hes a tough guy and hes helped me a lot with the wrestling aspect. Hes a great workout partner and were able to push each other really hard. Hes so young in this sport and hes going to continue to get so much better.

Q: How do you like his chances against Josh Barnett?

A: Even with the short amount of time hes been in there, I think Dans going to beat him up. Hes going to take it to him.

Q: Moving to UFC 137 Saturday, who do you like in the main event between Nick Diaz and B.J. Penn?

A: I think its a good fight. I havent been able to pick a winner with that yet. I think it will be a good fight, though.

Q: What about the co-main event with Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo?

A: Its going to be a really good stand-up fight. Both guys hit really hard, but I think Mitrione has gotten much better. Ive seen Mitrione his quickness has come along. Hes a lot quicker. Both guys, I havent seen too much of them on the ground. I think the stand-up will be pretty even, but well see what happens on the ground.

Though hes unproven, I pick Mitrione.

Q: How do you see Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic and Roy Nelson going?

A: If this was old Cro Cop, (Id choose) Cro Cop. But from what weve seen from him lately, (Ill go with) Nelson.


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