by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com (Photo courtesy of April Pishna)
A veteran of King of the Cage and Shooto, Javier “Showtime” Vazquez looks to make a return to the sport after a three year absence. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rodrigo Medieros, Javi is no stranger to Jiu-Jitsu competitions. The 2005 ADCC North American Champion’s dynamic style makes him one of the most exciting grapplers today. The former King of the Cage World Lightweight Champion recently spoke with MMAWeekly regarding the injury that sidelined him and his future in MMA.

At King of the Cage 21, Vazquez defended his title against Alberto Crane. “It was about the first 10-15 seconds of the fight. After the first punch I threw, I either miss-stepped or slipped on the mat. As I did that, I tore the ACL in my right knee,” explained Vazquez. “Showtime” finished the fight and faired well despite the injury. Unfortunately, he went on to lose a split decision.

“I think adrenaline was taking over some of it but every time it [knee] would buckle, it would hurt and take about 15-20 seconds to recover. It was just an ongoing thing,” added Vazquez. “I actually tore it again training for UFC 46. After that, I said I needed to take some time off to heal and relax.”

In 2003, Javier rebounded from his loss with a victory over Robert Emerson in Shooto. Vazquez hasn’t competed in MMA since that fight. So what has the BJJ black belt been doing?

“Ever since then, I’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu tournaments here and there; just trying to stay somewhat active,” said Vazquez. “I won the Abu Dhabi trials back in the end of 2004/2005. I competed with Alberto Crane in the finals. I pretty much dominated the match and I dominated the trials. That fight with Alberto Crane was voted the most technical fight of the tournament. Right before Abu Dhabi, I tore my groin so I wasn’t able to compete.”

Showtime Network, Inc. and Pro Elite, Inc. recently announced their entry into Mixed Martial Arts. The newly formed EliteXC makes its premiere on February 10 and will be broadcast on the Showtime premium network. The inaugural event will be headlined by a fight between former UFC Champion Frank Shamrock and IFL coach Renzo Gracie. Vazquez revealed that he will make his return to MMA at the event.

“I’m really excited. I’ve been wanting to fight for a while but it just hasn’t been the right time,” commented Javier. “My manager Cesar Gracie gave me the opportunity to fight on the card.”

While training for UFC 46, another torn ACL prevented Vazquez from making his long awaited debut. Fans were disappointed by the news and have been wondering when Javier will get another opportunity to fight in the largest MMA organization in the U.S. Have there been talks with the UFC since then? “A little bit. We were talking to them [UFC]; they had offered me a potential fight with a couple of people and it just wasn’t the right time. I got offered a fight with Din Thomas, who’s a really good fighter, but it just wasn’t the right time.”

The time away from MMA has allowed Javier Vazquez to recover from injuries and gave him the opportunity to compete in multiple Jiu-Jitsu competitions. Fans eagerly await the return of “Showtime”…on Showtime.

“It only makes sense to have me on the card. It’s a match made in heaven so far [Laughs].”