Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is on the mend, but he still doesn’t have a definitive timeline for his return to the Octagon.
Velasquez hasn’t fought since UFC 200 in July of last year, when he took out Travis Browne late in the first round. He had been slated to face Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207 on Dec. 30, but the Nevada Athletic Commission declined to approve him for the fight, saying Velasquez was medically unfit to compete.
The commission’s refusal to approve Velasquez came after he publicly admitted to using CBD oils to manage back pain and divulged that he had already scheduled a surgery for after the fight.
Following the denial, Velasquez went ahead with the surgery. He is still dealing with the after effects of the surgery, taking his time during the rehabilitation process.
“I underwent surgery in early January. That surgery was very successful, and I hope the issue doesn’t ever come up again. However, right now, I am listening to my body and the advice from my medical team and choosing to take it easy,” Velasquez wrote in a statement he issued via Twitter on Monday.
“I’m still staying in shape, but getting back into fighting shape is going to take a bit more time as I can’t train the way I know how. I have to be smart about going back and can’t rush just to make a fight and then risk another injury. My body needs to be at 100 percent.”
Rising heavyweight talent Francis Ngannou recently called out Velasquez, but it’s still unclear when he’ll be ready to compete again.
“I can’t provide a definitive timeline on when I’ll be ready to go, but you’ll be the first to know when the time comes,” said Velasquez, who sounds as if he intends to return soon. He’s been keeping an eye on upcoming bouts, including the UFC heavyweight championship bout between titleholder Stipe Miocic and challenger Junior dos Santos.
“I’m excited to see the latest heavyweight fights, especially those scheduled for UFC 211. I’m confident I’ll be facing someone from that group because I belong there, and I want nothing more than to get my belt back.”
— Cain Velasquez (@cainmma) March 14, 2017