Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor
Cain Velasquez may be the perfect heavyweight.
His best qualities—speed and endurance—are the very things that most 265-pound fighters lack, and that alone sets him apart from the field. Add in the fact he’s big enough to be a knockout threat but mobile enough to keep the division’s true giants on their bicycles, and you start to get the picture.
But if you’ve watched a formal interview with Velasquez, you’ve also seen the biggest flaw in his armor. It’s not that he can’t talk (he can, and he’s pretty good at it), but he’s a former college athlete...and boy, does that previous media training shine through in his MMA appearances.
V-A-N-I-L-L-A, that’s how the heavyweight champ keeps it, just like they probably taught him back at Arizona State. Sure, that stuff plays in the local paper. It doesn’t give your opponents at the upcoming Midlands Tournament any bulletin-board material, but it also isn’t the key to making you a big star in MMA.
So what are we gifting him this Christmas?
How about a little touch o’ the blarney?
Imagine if Velasquez fought like Velasquez but promoted like Chael P. Sonnen. We’re talking the whole ball of wax: the jokes, storytelling, quips, fake pro-wrestling persona that boosts a lot of material from old 1970s YouTube clips. It would be, in a word, amazing.
Suddenly he would go from merely being the best heavyweight fighter on the planet (ho-hum, am I right?) to being a bona fide crossover megastar. And not in a flash-in-the-pan, Brock Lesnar way, either, but in an honest-to-gosh transcendent mainstream sports star kind of way.
Merry Christmas, Cain P. Velasquez.