Cain Velasquez is on a sky rocket to the top of the UFC's heavyweight division right now. After his latest win over top competitor Cheick Kongo, Velasquez is likely a fight or two away from his coveted UFC heavyweight title shot.
I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to Velasquez prior to his UFC 104 bout with Ben Rothwell to see where his mindset is at, and where he feels he is with a win over Rothwell. Check it out:
Nick: So Cain, first off, how’s camp been going into the Rothwell fight, and how hard has it been to change up your game plan in fighting Rothwell rather than Carwin?
Cain: Well, as far as the game plan goes, we know Rothwell likes to keep it standing. He’s a tall guy, a big guy, and like I said, he’ll want to keep it standing. The game plan’s really the same.
N: In your last fight against Cheick Kongo, you threw tons of heavy punches, many of which stunned Kongo. How do you feel your hands match up against the rest of the division?
C: I mean, I think my hands match up good. I don’t think I moved as good as I could’ve against Cheick, and I didn’t do what I was supposed to and took a couple of heavy shots, but those were mistakes that I don’t plan on making again.
N: With the upcoming fight between Carwin and Lesnar, where do you feel you stand with a win over Rothwell?
C: I think that’s up to the UFC to decide. I’m not really sure. Whoever they throw [my way] you know I’m going to do that so, I’m just working hard every day to get better and that’s what I’m doing right now.
N: I was looking over your past wrestling career at Arizona State and the numbers are very impressive. Boasting a 50-10 record in such as short time is no short order. Do you feel your wrestling is the best in the Heavyweight division?
C: Do I think my wrestling is the best? No, I think it’s up there around the top. I mean, Brock [Lesnar] is a different kind of wrestler than me. He’s obviously a bigger guy, more powerful just because of his size, you know? I don’t think my wrestling’s as good as his, but it’s just up there with the rest of the guys.
N: Can you talk about the tattoo of “Brown Pride” and what it means to you being Mexican in today’s sporting world?
C: Yeah, well growing up with me being Mexican, you know, it was just me. Growing up I didn’t really have anyone to look up to. There weren’t a lot of Mexicans on T.V. except for those in Boxing. And getting the tattoo, you know my family coming here, I’m real proud of what they did to get here and what they did to have a better life.
N: Cain, many people out there say that MMA isn’t a real sport, and that it doesn’t contain the credentials needed to be called a sport. Yet, the Olympic committee just voted to allow Rugby and Golf into the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. How do you feel about the subject, and do you take any offense to that?
C: The people who say that don’t know the sport, obviously. They don’t follow the sport at all and they don’t know anything about it honestly. I mean, this sport has some of the other sports combined into one. I personally haven’t heard anybody say that but I don’t know how they could.
It’s a shock to me that somebody could say that really. Look how far the sport has come. It’s becoming the most popular sport in the world and of all the athletes involved in MMA, it’s the best sport out there. I mean, it takes some of the most exciting sports and combines it into one.
N: Let’s move away from MMA for a sec and talk about life outside the octagon. What does Cain Velasquez like to do when he’s not training or bashing faces in?
C: Just hang out with my family. You know, go on vacation or whatever, but when I’m not training, well, I’m always training. In general though when I’m not at the gym I’m pretty much at home having meals, having family dinners. That’s pretty much it.
N: How big of a sports fan are you, and are you currently following the playoffs in Baseball?
C: I’m not really too big of a sports fan. Everything I watch is MMA, you know, great fights. But other sports, not really too much. I do watch Boxing here and there and I’ll watch local teams here; the San Jose Sharks, and I like the [Golden State] Warriors. Whenever we can, we’ll get a game and go there.
N: One last question I have for you before you go: What motivates you to wake up every day to be the best fighter you can be?
C: What motivates me? This is something I’ve always wanted to do since I’ve seen the sport. For me, to make a living off of working out is a dream for me. I don’t know, I really can’t be in an office and stuff like that. I want to do something that I love and training, that’s what motivates me.
N: I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Is there anyone you’d like to thank before you go?
C: Yeah, I want to thank Zinkin and Zinkin Entertainment, and everyone at Team A.K.A.
N: Cain, thank you so much for your time, and good luck at UFC 104 and we’d love to talk to you again in the future!
C: Absolutely, I’d love to do this again. Thanks.