Javier Mendez has been in the UFC since 1996, so he has seen the sport grow from the bottom up first-hand. Now, as he prepares to put the finishing touches on Cain Velasquez’ training camp ahead of his UFC heavyweight title defense with Junior dos Santos, Mendez reflects on the first time he met Velasquez to UFC.com.
Velasquez-dos Santos will be the main event of UFC on FOX 1 this Saturday night from Anaheim, California. The heavyweight clash will serve as the lone fight in the hour-long telecast, which FightLine.com will provide complete, ongoing results from.
Mendez left his job in real estate to open a gym after learning the trade through kickboxing and Tae Kwon do. He won two championships as a professional fighter, but knew he made the right choice for a career when he first laid eyes on Velasquez.
“The first time I met Cain Velasquez, they’re tell me we got this kid that has an incredible gas tank, he never gets tired but then I heard the word, ‘Mexican,’ and I was like, ‘Whatever, I’ve never seen a Mexican that’s a heavyweight that’s extremely athletic.’ I thought he was probably overweight, so I’m not that interested in him,” Mendez said. “Then Cain popped through the door and I had to take a double look at him. Then I watched him work out and the unbelievable discipline he had and I said, ‘Wow, this kid is special.’ He’s not the greatest athlete but he’s the greatest fighter I’ve ever trained.”
Mendez knows that his prized pupil is in for the biggest test of his career in dos Santos, saying, “Cain’s focused for a five-round war and I believe we’re going to win that five-round war. If we’re thinking we’re going to finish him, that’s a bad mistake on my and Cain’s part to underestimate someone as dangerous as Junior. But I believe 100 percent we are going to win.”