Surprise story of the day – Javier Mendez recently told Dave Meltzer that Cain Velasquez is the most talented fighter that he’s ever trained. Why is that surprising? Because Mendez runs American Kickboxing Academy. Yes, the American Kickboxing Academy. The same place where Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Jon Fitch and Cung Le train regularly. The place that sees names like BJ Penn and Frank Shamrock come through and work on aspects of their game. Mendez not only puts Velasquez ahead of them all, but surmises that Velasquez could beat Randy Couture right now.
“Right now, he could walk in and be a good pro boxer,” Mendez told Yahoo!Sports. “He could not only be a good kickboxer, but he’s K-1 level. He won a world championship in Jiu Jitsu (no Gi, blue belt division, after training only 17 months). He’s the fastest learner I’ve ever had. And nobody trains harder. He trains harder than the lightweights.”
Velasquez, a former collegiate Division I wrestling star, is 3-0; all fights ending by knockout and none of them making it out of the first round. He is building a legend and to listen to his teammates tell it, he could be the best heavyweight in the world within a year.
“I think in a year he can beat Fedor (Emelianenko),” said Daniel Puder, who trains with Velasquez. “The thing is, he’s got the greatest conditioning of anyone. He’s got the speed of a lightweight and the strength of a heavyweight. You can’t out-quick him. You can’t out power him. You can’t outlast him. He doesn’t just beat people in the gym, he massacres them. It’s almost impossible to last a round. His only weakness possibly is to get him with technique. But you can only get a move on him twice, because he learns instantaneously.”
This Saturday at Ultimate Fight Night 14, Velasquez will put his skills on display for the first time on a nationally televised main fight card. Velasquez is set to face Jake O’Brian(10-1), a formidable opponent who also boasts a Division I wrestling pedigree. His only loss came to former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski.
Below is a look at the full fight card for this Saturday’s Ultimate Fight Night 14:
UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (21-4) vs. James Irvin (14-4)
Brandon Vera (8-2) vs. Reese Andy (7-1)
Frank Edgar (8-1) vs. Hermes Franca (18-6)
Cain Velasquez (3-0) vs. Jake O’Brien (10-1)
Anthony Johnson (5-1) vs. Kevin Burns (6-1)
Jesse Taylor (6-2) vs. CB Dollaway (6-1)
Tim Credeur (9-2) vs. Cale Yarbrough (0-0)
Rory Markham (14-4) vs. Brodie Farber (13-3)
Nate Loughran (8-0) vs. Johnny Rees (10-0)
James Giboo (11-2) vs. Brad Blackburn (12-9-1)
Dale Hartt (5-0) vs. Shannon Gugerty (9-2)
Make sure to check back here Saturday Night at 9pm EST for Fightline.com’s live coverage of Ulimate Fight Night 14 and Affliction: Banned.