Cain Velasquez was on top of the world after defeating Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 in October. And why wouldn’t he be? He had just won the UFC heavyweight championship. He upped his professional record to an unblemished 9-0.
Amped up from his win, Velasquez was ready to surge ahead and take on Junior Dos Santos, who had been waiting in the wings.
When the fan fare was over and things quieted down, however, something wasn’t quite right, and Velasquez knew it.
“Later than night, my body started cooling down and I felt my shoulder was just jacked up,” he recounted, weeks later, prior to UFC 125.
“I went to the doctor and they said I have a partially torn rotator cuff.”
Velasquez knows that the injury occurred in the fight, but not when. He is still unsure when it happened. Adrenaline coursing through his veins, he never felt the injury as he was laying the smack down on the former WWE superstar.
Rampant speculation was that Velasquez would make the first defense of his newly minted title at UFC 129 in Toronto, alongside UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who will defend his belt against Jake Shields at the Rogers Centre.
But as the weeks wore on, with no announcement forthcoming, Velasquez finally revealed the extent of his injury, and the hard cold fact that he will be out of commission for at least the next six months.
“We tried to rehab it first for six weeks,” said Velasquez, hoping against hope that he could keep the fight with Dos Santos intact. “Then, finally, when the six weeks was up, we did another MRI. The muscle was still torn, so they said we have to do the surgery.”
He is expected to be out of commission anywhere from six to eight months following surgery depending upon how fast he heals.
“I definitely want to be as active as I can. It’s hard, but it’s part of the territory. People get hurt all the time,” said Velasquez, having no choice but to accept some down time.
Dos Santos, however, does have a choice. His manager, Ed Soares, told MMAWeekly.com when the injury was revealed that his client doesn’t want to wait that long, and likely won’t wait.
Velasquez understands, whether it is Dos Santos taking another fight while he’s out, or if the UFC decides to institute an interim heavyweight title.
“They need to keep the fights going. They can’t wait around half a year for fights,” Velasquez stated. “It doesn’t offend me at all. When I’m ready, I’ll come back and fight.”