by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Here they are: all the mistakes UFC heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez says he made in his annihilation of Denis Stojnic at UFC Fight Night 17.
“When he would throw, I would stay away from his punches, but I wasn’t countering as he threw,” Velasquez tells MMAWeekly.com. “So when he would throw his big shots, I wasn’t in his face and throwing something at him.
“Pivoting more on my punches.
“When I threw a punch my other hand would come down just a little bit.
“I felt I was coming in too carelessly. When I hit him and rocked him back to the cage, my other hand went down and I was just going forward recklessly.”
And that was just the response to how he felt about the fight.
If you haven’t guessed already, the 26-year-old Velasquez is his own worst critic. He says he’s always been that way, ever since he wrestled and played football in high school, went on to a decorated collegiate wrestling career at Arizona State University, and jumped into the exploding sport of MMA.
At 5-0, people are talking about Velasquez in a way usually reserved for the top rung of the division. He tries to ignore it – you won’t see him going on the forums and reading what people say about him. He did, after all, commit the cardinal sin of letting his last fight go past the first round.
In his defense, he says, he suffered a cut under his eye two weeks before the fight, and couldn’t do any sparring.
“For the little stuff right now, the tweaking and stuff, I think (these fights are) perfect, because by the time we fight the guys at the top of the ladder I should have everything down,” Velasquez assures.
It certainly seems like he is being groomed for big things. He buzz-sawed through Brad Morris and Jake O’Brien before meeting an overmatched Stojnic last Saturday. In a division infinitely smaller than his welterweight teammates at American Kickboxing Academy, he’s really not that far from the top. Fans are already abuzz about a possible meeting with the winner of Shane Carwin vs. Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96 in March. Velasquez says he’d like to return to fight in May.
“Gonzaga has a problem with later rounds,” he says. “I don’t know if it’s conditioning or what, but later in the fight. That’s the only problem I see with Gonzaga.
“(Carwin’s) got a good record, but I haven’t seen too many of his fights outside of the UFC. The way he’s been taking care of people is impressive. Anybody who’s that big, like Brock Lesnar, is dangerous. It wouldn’t matter who. Either one I’d love to fight.”
Velasquez says he will work hard in the coming months to iron out the kinks in his game, even as he supports his girlfriend, who is pregnant with a girl – Coral Love Velasquez – and due in May.
“I come from the Bay Area,” he quips about his soon-to-be daughter’s name.
At the end of this week, he will return to AKA to begin the quest to perfection.