Cain Velasquez is set to make his long-awaited return to the Octagon on Sunday against Francis Ngannou.
Velasquez last fought at UFC 200 in July of 2016 in which he beat Travis Browne by TKO. However, Velasquez has been dealing with a bad back injury and wanted to spend time with his family. Now, though, the former heavyweight champion is back and ready to reclaim his belt.
Ultimately, Velasquez’s first fight back in nearly three years is against one of the, if not the hardest hitter in the UFC. Ngannou can knock anybody out, and that could be a scary situation for Velasquez. However, Velasquez is confident he will win, but the pain from all the injuries will still be in his mind.
“When I had the injury, it was something that was extremely hard to deal with, to live with,” Velasquez said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. When it was at its worst, it was bad. It’s something I’d say was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through physically.”
“Just standing for 15 minutes is probably the worst pain I’ve ever gone through,” he said.
Although he couldn’t even stand for 15 minutes, he is ready to fight the full 25 minutes if he needs to. Velasquez knows he is fully healthy and can’t wait to show the world just how good he is, and he still is the Cain of old.
“The reason I do this is to be the No. 1 guy,” Velasquez said. “And if I’m not as competitive as I was before, then I’m not doing it. But I also believe that I am that same guy. I’ve improved a lot and right now, I feel stronger than ever, stronger than in the past. Obviously in that fight against Travis Browne, I am stronger than that. My body feels better than I did then with the time off I’ve taken.”
However, if Velasquez doesn’t end up showing he is just as good as ever or doesn’t feel good in the fight, this will be his last fight. He isn’t going to stick around any longer then he needs to.
“I just have a lot of confidence to go out and win this fight,” Velasquez said. “I expect to go out and compete at a high-level. If I can’t do that, then I’m not going to do this any more.
“But the way I feel now, I feel great and feel like I can keep going for quite a while more.”