Cain Velasquez Explains Why He Took Two Years Off From MMA

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ready To Hit The Octagon

Former two times UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez returning to Octagon for the first time since July 9, 2016, where he meets knockout artist Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC on ESPN on Feb. 17.

Many in the MMA world still believes he is the greatest heavyweight fighter of all-time. Despite in the recent years, he had a hard time getting back to the Octagon due to an unfortunate amount of injuries he suffered that have waylaid his career.

The American Kickboxing Academy (14-2) product last stepped inside the Octagon at UFC 200, where he scored a dominant first-round TKO victory over Travis Browne. That was Velaquez’ second fight in the past five years due to various injuries. He has won five of his last six bouts dating back to May of 2012.

“I’ve had some injuries throughout my career; I got that all squared away and all healed up, and I extended my family, as well,” Velasquez told MMAJunkie. “We have a 1-year-old boy. I wanted to be there just for the whole pregnancy, for the whole first year. It was kind of hard when we had our daughter… My daughter’s nine now, but when we first had her is when we were training, I was really in my highlight of fighting. There was a lot of stuff that I missed that I didn’t like missing. So with the time off, I just got to be with my family.

“There isn’t a lot of people who can take time off for two years, but I had that luxury, and I wanted to be there for my family, which to me was most important. I’m glad I did it. I love just having the time to be there for them.”

In his absence, a lot has changed as his friend and teammate Daniel Cormier moved up in the heavyweight and challenge Stipe Miocic for the title. In the heavyweight division, we have seen an emergence of ‘The Predator’ who recently defeated Curtis Blaydes at UFC Beijing in November.

The former champion is now more than ready to recover his lost time inside the cage as his off time allowed him to sharpen his skills in all areas.

“We’re always trying to evolve,” Velasquez said. “This sport is still so new. We’re trying out different things and trying to get new tools every time – things that fans and also fighters haven’t seen before from me, so I’m always working on that. I’m always working to improve.”

Who do you think will come out victoriously at UFC Phoenix?

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