After years of injuries, Velasquez is taking the rest of the year off as he awaits the arrival of his next child.

With just two fights to his name since 2014, many have wondered if Cain Velasquez will ever make it back into the Octagon, and if so, what condition he’ll be in. His last attempt at a comeback was UFC 207 in December of 2016, but an interview where he discussed some really gnarly back issues caused the Nevada State Athletic Commission to yank him from that card.

Since then it’s been nothing but signs that Cain wasn’t close to coming back. Still injured. Not training. But when he ran into MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani during a UFC 215 media event, he sounded optimistic about a return … just not until some time in 2018.

“This year? Probably not,” Velasquez said. “We’ll see. I’m close. I’m not there yet but I’m close. Focusing on this time as far as the baby we have coming along. I want to be there for that. He’s due in November, so it’s been a good process of healing and being with the family.”

“I want to be 100% ready for the fans. I need to stop messing around and coming back too early. You know what I mean? I can’t do that. I can’t afford that anymore. I gotta be 100% ready to come back.”

As for whether he expects to jump right back into a title shot?

“That’s not up to me. I’ll ask for whoever. We haven’t talked. But I’m with the family and just recuperating still.”

So the bad news is there’s still no solid date for a Cain return. But the good news is he sounds better than he’s ever been and focusing on his family, not some crippling back problem.