The Ultimate Fighting Championship had been plotting and planning to host an event in Mexico for years. And on Saturday, the UFC held its inaugural show at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City.
Mexican-American UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was originally scheduled to face top contender Fabricio Werdum in the main event, but was forced out of the fight due to a knee injury. Mark Hunt was named as his replacement, and after coaching the debut season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America opposite Werdum, Velasquez watched UFC 180 from cage side.
“Hunt came out and stuck to his game plan pretty good; defended the takedowns and I think won most of the stand-up in the first round. He just got caught with that knee,” said the champ about Werdum winning the interim title during the UFC Post Show on Fox Sports 1. “It just shows that Fabricio does everything and he does everything well. He spins. He spin-kicks. He knees, throws elbows. He does everything well.”
Although he has trained to face Werdum already, Velasquez had no preference which fighter would become his next opponent.
“To me, it just never matters. I don’t really care who I fight as long as it’s the better guy,” he said.
Having to site cage side and watch Werdum face Hunt wasn’t easy for the injured champion.
“It kind of really sunk in as the guys were coming out. That’s when it really sunk in. It was hard. At that moment I was like, no, this should be me coming out,” said Velasquez. “But things happen for some reason. I don’t know what, but I just think about the positives, focus on getting better and that’s it.”
UFC president Dana White stated during the UFC Post Show that if Velasquez suffers another serious injury that would sideline him for an extended amount of time, that he could be stripped of the title and Werdum become the outright champion.
“It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care,” said Velasquez about the possibility of being stripped. “As long as I fight, the next fight will be for a title. And I’m happy with that. I don’t really care of having that title. The name that comes with it, I don’t really care. As long as I fight for a title and I earn it.”
It’s too early in his recovery process to predict when he’ll be physically fit to fight again. He underwent successful knee surgery on Oct. 23.
“I’m going to do everything I can. Just play it by ear. Do everything I can as far as rehab and getting it better. That’s all I can do,” he said.
Velasquez last fought in October 2013.