In all fairness, Cain Velasquez is no stranger to wrestling. However, it appears the former UFC champion may leave the world of legit competition with double-leg takedowns and move to the world of fake fighting and tombstone piledrivers.
The two-time UFC heavyweight champion has been a vocal fan of pro wrestling for a long time. When he wasn’t systematically taking apart some of the scariest guys the world has to offer, he was sometimes seen at the WWE Performance Center honing his skills.
Now Velasquez is set to make his way into the world of pro wrestling for real – but not in the WWE. Velasquez will be debuting at TripleMania, an event from the AAA wrestling promotion in August. Velasquez is likely branching out into other areas of work, because his MMA aspirations haven’t exactly been what they once were as of late.
Years back, Velasquez was easily the baddest man on the planet. He dominated the likes of Junior dos Santos (twice), Antonio Silva (twice), Brock Lesnar, Travis Browne, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and many others.
Sadly, Velasquez would finally meet his match – in the form of an injury. His relentless training schedule and near machine-like work-ethic were too much for his own body to withstand. As his mind pushed his frame harder than said frame was able to go, he began to rack up numerous serious injuries.
Velasquez would have multiple surgeries, with his back, knee, hand, and other parts all needing medical attention to repair. These surgeries were obviously accompanied by periods of recovery, leading to Velasquez missing out on multiple years of his prime.
Seeing the division he once ruled over pass him by had to be hard. He did try to make a return, facing off against Francis Ngannou earlier in 2019. However, this fight was also a letdown. Velasquez was pressuring the hard-hitter early, and upon going for a takedown, was clipped with a short uppercut that appeared to stun him.
Either the angle of his movement, the impact of the punch, or a combination of the two caused Velasquez’s knee to give out. He collapsed awkwardly to the mat, screaming in pain as the referee called a halt to the action just seconds after it had started. It was a disappointing return for Velasquez, a man many hoped would make his way back to the top of the division.
AAA’s TripleMania serves as the promotion’s answer to WWE’s annual WrestleMania event, showcasing their biggest talents and most must-see moments.
Velasquez isn’t the only man to jump between MMA and pro wrestling. Bobby Lashley, Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Ronda Rousey, and CM Punk are also among those who have appeared in the contrasting, but somewhat similar, realms of combat sports and entertainment.
If Velasquez is done with fighting, hopefully, he enjoys his time in the wrestling world and finds fulfillment there. However, fight fans are probably still holding out hope he’ll leave the ring and get back in the cage at some point.