— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) January 4, 2019
“I’ve had some injuries throughout my career; I got that all squared away and all healed up, and I extended my family, as well,” Velasquez told MMAJunkie. “We have a 1-year-old boy. I wanted to be there just for the whole pregnancy, for the whole first year. It was kind of hard when we had our daughter… My daughter’s nine now, but when we first had her is when we were training, I was really in my highlight of fighting. There was a lot of stuff that I missed that I didn’t like missing. So with the time off, I just got to be with my family.
“There isn’t a lot of people who can take time off for two years, but I had that luxury, and I wanted to be there for my family, which to me was most important. I’m glad I did it. I love just having the time to be there for them.”
Cain Velasquez is the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion of the world. Some argue that he’s the greatest heavyweight fighter of all-time. And that’s regardless of his unfortunate amount of injuries that have plagued his career.
The American Kickboxing Academy staple hasn’t fought since July 2016 when he opened the UFC 200 main card with a dominant first-round TKO over Travis Browne.
A lot has changed since then, obviously, whether it be inside his division or outside of it.
In his division in particular though, we’ve seen the rapid emergence of ‘The Predator’ Francis Ngannou who will be welcoming Velasquez back to action when they headline the UFC’s first-ever event on ESPN TV on February 17 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Despite the time being lost and the obvious change in the sport, Cain Velasquez has done everything he can to keep up with the times while not throwing down in the Octagon.
“We’re always trying to evolve,” Velasquez said. “This sport is still so new. We’re trying out different things and trying to get new tools every time – things that fans and also fighters haven’t seen before from me, so I’m always working on that. I’m always working to improve.”
Who do you think gets the job done at UFC Phoenix between Velasquez and Ngannou?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/4/2019