Javier Mendez: Cain Velasquez’s Knee Surgery A Success
Cain Velasquez is undoubtedly one of the best heavyweights of all time and one of the best fighters right now. A champion with a relentless pace and a well-rounded skill set, he is an extremely tough man to beat. If it weren’t for one huge X-factor, Velasquez may be considered the best heavyweight of all time and may sit higher up on the pound-for-pound rankings list. This one factor is the question on weather the champion can remain healthy.
After news broke last week that Velasquez was forced out of his UFC 180 title bout in Mexico City, Mexico due to knee injury, these questions began to surface once again.
The champion last fought at UFC 166 in October of 2013 where he dismantled former champion Junior Dos Santos in their trilogy match. Despite the display of dominance shown, Velasquez suffered a shoulder injury that has kept him out until now. He also suffered a shoulder injury against Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 and fought Junior Dos Santos the first time with a nagging knee injury.
Velasquez was set to make his return on November 15, 2015 against Fabricio Werdum before he suffered his latest injury set back. His trainer appeared on the Tuesday edition of the MMA Hour to discuss what happened:
“Originally he (Velasquez) had a slight tear in the meniscus, but he was fine. He was training. He was doing everything necessary for the fight, everything was fine. The fight was going to go on. He was having great sparring sessions.” “And then he was working on sprawling drills, and it was a little slippery. As he went to sprawl he kind of went one way and his body went another way, and next thing I know I hear a yelp and I thought, oh crap. So, the combination of the MCL and the slight tear in the meniscus that was just kind of a little much.”
The champion underwent surgery a few days ago to repair the injury. Although the surgery was a success, the injury turned out to be more extensive then thought to be. Javier Mendes continued:
“The surgery went well, but there was more damage than anticipated, which didn’t make sense to me because he’s so freaking tough. If Cain says ‘oww’ it must be a lot worse than he’s making it out to be, because that guy can take pain like I’ve never seen. So when it turned out that his MCL was worse, they put two anchors on it, it turns out he’ll be out a little longer than anticipated.”
This is unfortunate news for not only Velasquez, but also for the UFC. The company now loses one of their biggest draws for even longer, and the evolving heavyweight division is put on hold once again.
As for when the champ would return, Mendez was unsure, but realistically, a 2015 spring date sounds about right:
“[Velasquez]’s on crutches right now. Two weeks on crutches, and then he’ll be on the knee brace for I believe six weeks. So, if you count all that, you can’t figure out the numbers.”
The head trainer at American Kickboxing Academy went on to add that he doesn’t believe the champ is injury prone, it is just a result of the training regimen Velasquez takes part in:
“He pushes beyond what other people do. But, that’s just who he is. How do you tell a fighter not to push himself. That’s who he is.”
Despite his injury problems, Velasquez is still widely considered to be among the top heavyweights of all time. He has tied the UFC heavyweight title defense record with two and has won 11 of his 12 UFC fights to date. Mendez gave his thoughts on if the champ would one day be known as the greatest heavyweight to ever grace the canvas:
“If he had never got injured he’d be the greatest heavyweight of all time right now because of what the guy can do. What I do believe is that it’s just going to take longer for people to recognize him as the greatest. Even if he doesn’t get injured going forward, he still has a good…depending on him, he still has a good six to seven or eight years — even ten years of fighting, if that’s what he chooses to do. So he’s still going to hit that goal of being the greatest of all time. Obviously, we can’t label him there. Not yet, because he needs more fights I think. He will get there. It’s just going to take a little longer.”
Because of Velasquez’s injury, Mark Hunt has stepped in to take on Werdum for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 180 next month. It should be a very exciting matchup, but does either man stand a chance against the champ once he returns?