By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Cain Velasquez's 64-second knockout loss to Junior dos Santos last November was a sobering reminder of the realities of fighting. The then-Heavyweight Champ entered the event with an undefeated record, having been increasingly impressive in his victories and ending most of his fights in decisive fashion.
But all that changed in front of a network television audience. Both fighters entered the historic first Fox event battling some nagging injuries, but neither wanted to pull out of their spotlight bout. Velasquez had a gameplan for dos Santos despite the injuries, and had an idea of how he wanted to approach the fight. Unfortunately for him, he didn't have a chance to implement it.
"You can have the best training camp ever, get hit once and it's all over," Velasquez said this past week in an interview with the LA Times. "That's the name of the game. That's what makes fighting. It stinks. I always had it in my head in seeing other guys knocked out - 'This may happen to you.' All you can do is learn and move on. I know now. You have a game plan. Don't wait around. Go execute it right away."
"Losing happens, we all know we're not going to be a champion forever. I had a bad night. I regret maybe rushing back from my injury against Brock. That takes a lot out of you. You need to work yourself back from that slowly."
He's worked his way back into a rematch with dos Santos following the destruction of "Bigfoot" Silva in May, and the two of them will square off this December at UFC 155. His chin may be questioned heading into the rematch, given how the first bout played out, but Velasquez just believes he'll need to avoid having it tested like that again.
"It's either a good chin, not good, or really not good," Velasquez said. "So you train your defense, get yourself in the best shape possible to move around. I've been hit with some good shots before. The best I ever got hit was by Junior. I just can't get hit clean like that."
"Heavyweight title fights don't last five rounds. Big guys. Those small gloves. Anybody can get knocked out at any time."
Penick's Analysis: The shot Velasquez took from dos Santos is one that would take any fighter out, and it's certainly not an indictment of his chin. He's going to have a chance to avenge that loss and implement the gameplan this time around, and the fight could be very different than their first meeting. 64 seconds isn't enough time to gauge how the fight would have played out without that punch behind the ear, so we'll hopefully get some type of closure on the fight this December.
[Cain Velasquez art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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