I have nothing against Cain Velasquez. In fact, I respect the hell out of him, and think he’s a fierce warrior whose abilities only few can match in the cage. But last night, at UFC 188 in Mexico, the man who earned the UFC’s heavyweight crown back on December 29, 2012, was finally dethroned by challenger Fabricio Werdum. I say good riddance to the king who never ruled.
It’s true that Velasquez was our man when a stellar match-up was needed for the first-ever UFC event on FOX proper, and though he lost that night to Junior dos Santos, he knew the importance of the bout in the grand scheme of things and took the fight while hurt.
He avenged that loss two times over, and in between stopped a Bigfoot. He more than earned the accolades he got.
But before UFC 188, the last time we saw Velasquez in action was October 19, 2013 – at UFC 166 – and a year-and-eight-month layoff between fights is too much for a king to impose upon his subjects. Way too much. In that time, we could only speculate how Josh Barnett would do against the American Kickboxing Academy fighters endless cardio, or how badly Velasquez would maul Alistair Overeem. And we shouldn’t have to speculate those things. As fans, we should be able to watch our heavyweight champ prove over and over again why he’s the best.
Instead, we got a big guy coping with big injuries.
The right person won last night. In Werdum, we have a badass who fought in the Octagon three times while Velasquez was switching over to Metro PCS and trading scripted banter with Ronda Rousey.
Thanks for being a great fighter, Mr. Velasquez, but it’s good you’re no longer at the top. Now we get to see the best heavyweight in the world do his thing in a division that was held hostage for far too long.