Cain Velasquez is back in action for the first time in two and a half years, and while that’s a pretty long time in and of itself, it doesn’t capture the reality of how little we’ve seen him lately. The past five years have seen him compete just twice, so to say we’re excited about the return of a healthy and happy Velasquez is an understatement.
He’ll be taking on the hard hitting Francis Ngannou this Sunday February 17th at UFC on ESPN 1. To put it simply, Francis has made his reputation off knocking his opponents into orbit. Before UFC president Dana White went sour on Ngannou, he couldn’t stop talking about the Cameroon native’s punching power. He once compared it to being hit by a Ford Escort, a comment that Velasquez mocked during a media event interview.
”Ford Escorts suck,” Velasquez said (video via MMA Fighting). “They’re weak. Weak ass Ford Escort. Is that the best [White] could come up with? He said ‘Ford Escort, that’s it. That’s the one.’”
When asked what car he’d use to describe his raw power, Cain demurred.
”I dunno, it’d be better than that,” he said. “Anything would be better than that. They don’t even make Ford Escorts any more, do they? It should offend Francis, not me. I wasn’t called a Ford Escort.”
After a six fight UFC win streak, Ngannou hit a two fight losing skid that had some questioning his heart. But a rebound 45 second KO win over Curtis Blaydes in November showed his Ford Escort power was still there. Will he be able to tap into that before Velasquez takes him down? A big unknown in that equation is whether Cain has lost a step or two while he’s been away.
At 36 years old, Velasquez isn’t exactly ancient by heavyweight standards. But if you factor in all the miles he’s put on his body and the endless back and knee problems, Velasquez is a car you’d definitely want checked under the hood before you bought it.