Cain Velasquez (pictured) won’t have to wait long to try and reclaim the throne, unless the injury-prone heavyweight gets hurt again, of course.
On this week’s edition of “UFC Tonight,” it was reported Velasquez will get an immediate rematch with champion Fabricio Werdum, the former interim champ who defeated Velasquez to unify the UFC heavyweight title just two months ago.
Some thought Velasquez would have to work his way back up the mountain instead of getting an instant sequel, but he lucked out on several fronts. First and foremost, the UFC actually recognizes that he is the game’s best 265-pounder. That reason alone is worth its weight in UFC heavyweight gold.
Secondly, the fact that Velasquez is Mexican-American and the UFC has been infiltrating new territory in Mexico certainly helps. Having an entire country rally around a fighter, let alone a champion, can do wonders in expanding the UFC’s worldwide footprint. Look at what former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre did for Canada, and what interim featherweight title holder Conor McGregor is doing for Ireland.
Lastly, the UFC heavyweight division is badly depth deprived. It’s tough to realistically envision anyone not named Werdum, Velasquez or Junior dos Santos donning the gold. Let’s be honest, it’s still kind of weird picturing Werdum as the champion.
In addition, outside of dos Santos, most of the class’ top six athletes have already been issued their next assignments. Sure, the UFC could have pulled someone from their bout and leapfrogged him to challenge Werdum, but none of them could beat Velasquez so there’s really no point.
For the first time in forever, the oft-injured Velasquez managed to get healthy but still lost to Werdum, who was a significant underdog. It was clear Velasquez wasn’t prepared for the altitude in Mexico City and gassed out early, which was likely the primary reason he was upset at UFC 188.
It’s also clear to the UFC that he’s the best man for the top contender job, and that’s why he was gifted his third chance to capture the crown.