UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez has a tough task in front of him for his first title defense: take out a supremely confident Junior dos Santos after spending more than a year out of the cage while rehabbing a shoulder injury.
Velasquez tore his right rotator cuff when he took the title from Brock Lesnar back in October at UFC 121 and has been on the sidelines since, with the date for his return looking like it will come late this year at the earliest. Speaking with MMAJunkie.com recently, Velasquez revealed that his recovery has been going speedily and that he’s doing his best to shake off the ring rust in training.
“I think my recovery is coming a lot quicker than even I expected and any of my other coaches expected, so that’s always a good thing,” said Velasquez.
Having been out of action for so long, Velasquez — who has returned to light training — has had to focus on re-developing the fine tuned movements and technique in his striking game.
“First thing was simple stuff like foot movement,” he said. “That and the head movement, and the striking defense and striking offense. I’m just trying to get back the technique into everything I do. Now, it’s trying to get the power and the combinations back.”
The 28-year-old isn’t kidding himself that he won’t suffer some ill effects for having been out of action for so long, so all that he can do is work hard to overcome any of the rust that’s built up while he was on the mend.
“The only thing I can do is go to practice and get all my sparring there to try to eliminate most of that,” Velasquez said. “But it’s definitely a thing. It happens.”