Now that the UFC heavyweight title unification bout is set between newly-minted interim champion Shane Carwin and current champ Brock Lesnar for UFC 116, it appears the organization has opted to have Cain Velasquez wait idly for the winner instead of solidifying his top contender status.
Had either Frank Mir or Carwin been injured in victory at UFC 111 on Saturday night, Velasquez would likely have received the nod to welcome Lensar back to the Octagon. Unfortunately for Velasquez, Carwin wasn’t in the cage long enough to sustain much damage after collecting his 12th consecutive first round knockout win.
Velasquez has quickly developed his striking game at the famed American Kickboxing Academy, and the standout wrestler’s refined skills were no more apparent than when he knocked out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 110 in February to put himself in prime position for a shot at the crown.
Rather than putting his position at the front of the heavyweight line at risk, UFC president Dana White told the media Velasquez is going to wait for the dust to settle on July 3rd before he gets his next assignment.
“Cain’s waiting in the wings now,” White confirmed. “Cain’s probably going to wait for the next shot.”
Obviously, the concern for Velasquez would be the extended layoff he’d absorb before getting back to competitive fighting.
With the Lesnar/Carwin bout taking place in July, Velasquez could be out of action for at least another 7 months, possibly longer if the champion gets injured at UFC 116, before he is able to resume his budding MMA career.
Although Carwin hadn’t fought in over a year prior to Saturday night, Octagon-rust clearly didn’t affect his ability to put Mir to sleep. It will be interesting to see how the 27-year-old responds to the hiatus as it will provide ample time to improve his game.