UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will be returning from a year-long, injury-induced layoff next weekend to make the first defense of his heavyweight title against hungry contender Junior dos Santos on the UFC’s Fox debut. Despite the high stakes, Velasquez revealed today that he’s not any more nervous for this fight than he has been for any other.
“They’re are always butterflies,” said the 29-year-old. “Right now, there’s not going to be more than usual. When you get in the grind of training and everything else, it kind of gets your mind ready for what’s ahead. There’s definitely butterflies there, but, for me, that makes me feel ready. That’s natural, for me to be a little nervous, but no more than usual.”
Velasquez explained further that he’s too busy worrying about Junior dos Santos and the threats he poses to really pay attention to any added pressure that comes along with fighting on the UFC’s debut on Fox.
“I’m excited and it’s a great honor to have this fight chosen by the UFC to be the first one on Fox,” he said. “But I’m not focused on the event, the hype or the (expected large TV audience), like any other fight I am focused on my opponent and not much else.”
In dos Santos, Velasquez meets a powerful young fighter who’s been dreaming of UFC gold. The 27-year-old Brazilian comes to the cage with heavy hands and technically proficient boxing, with solid wrestling skills and a reportedly stout Brazilian jiu-jitsu game. Velasquez knows that he has his hands full with dos Santos and expects a hard-fought battle against the challenger.
“He’s impressive, dangerous in all areas,” Velasquez assessed. “His wrestling – he doesn’t have one aspect of the game that he’s short on. He has great takedown defense, he even took Shane Carwin down a couple times. So, there’s not any area that he lacks in. He’s gonna be tough in all areas.”
UFC on Fox 1 goes down on November 12 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. FightLine will be back on the night with live, ongoing coverage of the event.