Report: UFC Legend Cain Velasquez to Meet with New Japan Pro-Wrestling Officials

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2019

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 17:  Cain Velasquez reacts after his KO loss to Francis Ngannou of Cameroon in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 17, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Cain Velasquez's foray into the world of professional wrestling may not be limited to featuring for lucha libre promotion AAA. The former UFC heavyweight champion is also said to be ready to meet with representatives of New Japan Pro-Wrestling on Sunday, per ESPN's Marc Raimondi:

Marc Raimondi @marc_raimondi

Cain Velasquez is at the New Japan Super J Cup show tonight in San Francisco. Sources said he’ll be having an informal meeting with NJPW officials. Velasquez is signed on for two more Lucha Libre AAA matches, but several other wrestling promotions have interest, per sources.

Earlier this month, Raimondi reported Velasquez, 37, will be on the card for AAA shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City as well as California's The Forum arena in Inglewood.

The decorated veteran of the Octagon has already made an appearance in the squared circle. He donned a mask to compete at AAA's Triplemania show.

This isn't the first time interest in rebranding Velasquez as a pro wrestler has been made known. Raimondi also noted how WWE held talks, which ultimately proved fruitless, while Cody Rhodes expressed interest in working with Velasquez in his role for All Elite Wrestling.

Fighters swapping UFC for the wrestling ring and vice versa is nothing new. Brock Lesnar remains the most famous example of a wrestler making a successful switch to combat sports.

Lesnar won the heavyweight strap in UFC but dropped it to Velasquez after a first-round TKO at UFC 121 back in 2010.

The 1990s saw UFC alumni Ken Shamrock and Dan "The Beast" Severn make the jump to what was then known as the World Wrestling Federation. Shamrock became a solid star, occasionally straddling the divide between midcard and main event status.

By contrast, Severn's wrestling career stalled somewhat amid difficulties of how best to use him. Severn did hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Velasquez may fare better, and New Japan offers an intriguing opportunity for the man knocked out by Francis Ngannou on a UFC Fight Night card back in February. The promotion still features legendary competitors such as Jushin Thunder Liger, while Chris Jericho has also wrestled under its banner.

Injuries ravaged the latter part of Velasquez's career in UFC, and this may be the ideal time to walk away and step up his efforts to be a success elsewhere.