Cain Velasquez on UFC On ESPN 1 Loss: “It Was Just Knee, Francis Ngannou Didn’t Touch Me!”
After over 30 months outside of Octagon, Cain Velasquez finally returned to Octagon last night (Sun., Feb. 17, 2019) at UFC on ESPN 1 from inside Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, where he squared off against dangerous Cameroonian knockout artist Francis Ngannou.
Former UFC heavyweight champion opened the fight with a good body kick, ‘The Predator’ missed right hand. Cain Velasquez tried to grapple Ngannou, who responded with few strong punches. Velasquez slumped to the canvas and unable to defend himself, referee Jason Herzog stepped in immediately and waved off the match. Velasquez knee popped in during that sequence.
Cain Velasquez was in complete disbelief after a quick loss, and offered an explanation at the post-fight press conference, claiming his knee betrayed him. The former UFC Heavyweight king states he felt 100% healthy heading into the main event of UFC Phoenix. (h/t MMAFighting)
“I just can’t believe that happened,” Velasquez said. “Having a great camp coming in, truly, everything I said, how strongly I felt, that was all true. Coming in I felt great out there, relaxed, and then taking that one step I did with my left foot. I just felt something pop and then when I tried to take another step it just gave out on me. My knee gave out on me, I can’t even believe that happened.
“Going in 100 percent healthy. 100 percent ready and just to have this freak accident, I can’t even believe it. It’s just hard. That’s sports, that’s what we do. That’s what happens sometimes. It’s just really frustrating because the fire in me is strong, stronger than ever. In camp, great camp, great camp. And then this happens.”
Cain Velasquez claims his knee injury ended the fight, not Francis Ngannou’s strikes. “Cardio Cain” says the Cameroonian’s fists didn’t rock him at all.
“It was just the knee, he didn’t even, like, touch me, you know?” Velasquez said. “It was just the knee, as soon as I felt the knee just buckle, it was like I couldn’t believe that happened. And then that was it.”
“Going in for his leg, I felt he kind of clubbed me on the back of the head, but that didn’t graze me at all,” Velasquez continued. “None of the punches grazed me at all or did anything to myself where I felt like I was unbalanced or anything. Just getting in on the inside and it was just a freak thing that happened with my knee.”
Velasquez doesn’t blame “The Predator” for raining brutal punches and praises the referee Jason Herzog for the stoppage. “Cardio Cain” also adds he respects his opponent Francis Ngannou a lot.
“It was okay because the ref saw my knee buckle.” Velasquez said. “The ref saw my knee buckle. His job is to make sure we’re 100 percent safe and he did that. Even for me, just to process what happened in that moment, even afterwards — the ref did the right job, he did the correct job tonight.”
“I have a lot of respect for [Ngannou] — I have a lot of respect for a lot of fighters, that’s just how I am — Before the fight, a lot of respect, but I’m there to kill him,” Velasquez continued. “After the fight, a lot of respect, especially for him as a man, as a competitor.
“I beat myself tonight.”
What are your thoughts on Cain’s statement? Do you believe his story?