There will be many eyeballs fixated on the Octagon this Saturday when Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin battle to unify the heavyweight title at UFC 116. One person that will be paying extra close attention is Cain Velasquez, who has been guaranteed first dibs at the undisputed king … ASAP.
Although UFC president Dana White already promised Cain a shot after he bumped his record to a perfect 8-0, the brash promoter reiterated the top contender spot during today’s UFC 116 pre-fight press conference.
“Cain fights the winner of this fight, probably as soon as possible,” White stated. “Cain’s been waiting a long time.”
Velasquez has quickly developed his striking game at the famed American Kickboxing Academy, and the standout wrestler’s refined skills were no more apparent than when he knocked out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 110 in February to put himself in prime position for a shot at the crown.
Obviously, the concern for Velasquez would be the extended layoff he’d absorb before getting back to competitive fighting. Although Lesnar and Carwin are finally meeting this weekend, Velasquez could be out of action for at least another 4 months – possibly longer if the champion gets injured.
At the same time, Carwin hadn’t fought in over a year prior to his shellacking of Frank Mir at UFC 111 and Saturday will mark the first time Lesnar’s set foot inside an Octagon since handing Mir a similar fate at UFC 100 in July of 2009. So, ring rust is something all the top dogs have had to deal with.