Cain Velasquez

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Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez.jpg
Velasquez in 2010
BornCaín Ramirez Velasquez
(1982-07-28) July 28, 1982 (age 39)
Salinas, California, United States[1]
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight241 lb (109 kg; 17 st 3 lb)
Fighting out ofSan Jose, California, United States
TeamAmerican Kickboxing Academy
TrainerWrestling: Daniel Cormier
Muay Thai: Javier Mendez
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Leandro Vieira
Strength: Joe Grosso
Boxing: Rosendo Sanchez
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Leandro Vieira[2]
WrestlingNCAA Division I Wrestling[3]
Years active2006–2019
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout12
By decision2
By knockout2
By submission1
UniversityArizona State University
SpouseMichelle Velasquez
Notable school(s)Kofa High School
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Medal record
Collegiate Wrestling
Representing the Sun Devils
from Arizona
Pac-10 Championships
Gold medal – first place 2005 San Luis Obispo 285 lbs
Silver medal – second place 2006 Fullerton 285 lbs

Caín Ramirez Velasquez[4] (born July 28, 1982) is a Mexican-American professional wrestler and retired mixed martial artist,[5] currently appearing for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA). He is widely known for his time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he competed in the heavyweight division and became a two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.[6] In 2019, Velasquez retired from mixed martial arts. That same year, Velasquez embarked on a professional wrestling career, firstly working for the Mexican Lucha Libre promotion AAA before moving to the American WWE promotion. In April 2020, he was released from his WWE contract due to budget cuts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.[cv 1]

Early life and education[edit]

Caín Velasquez was born in Salinas, California to Efraín and Isabel Velasquez. Efraín moved to the U.S. from Sonora,[16] Mexico as an undocumented immigrant,[17] where he met American-born Isabel. They started a relationship and later married, which allowed Efraín to attain U.S. citizenship.[18] The Velasquez family had three children: Efraín Jr., Adela and Caín.

Velasquez was raised in Yuma, Arizona.[19] He graduated from Kofa High School, where he compiled a record of 110–10 in four years of wrestling, including winning the 5A Arizona Wrestling Championship twice. Velasquez also played football for three years. As a senior, he served as captain of both his wrestling and football teams. As a football player, he played linebacker.[19]

After high school, he attended Iowa Central Community College, wrestling for one season (2001–02) and winning the NJCAA National Championship in the heavyweight (285 lb limit) division.[20] Afterwards, Velasquez transferred to Arizona State University. He wrestled for the Sun Devils for three seasons and compiled a record of 86–17, placing 5th in the country in 2005, and 4th in 2006. While at ASU, Velasquez also wrestled alongside future UFC fighters Ryan Bader and C.B. Dollaway.[21] He graduated from ASU in 2006, earning a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.[22]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Velasquez began his mixed martial arts career right after college, joining American Kickboxing Academy. Velasquez is a brown belt in Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu under Dave Camarillo,[23] a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Leandro Viera, and an NCAA Division I Wrestler.[24]

Velasquez made his MMA debut on October 7, 2006, against Jesse Fujarczyk at Strikeforce: Tank vs. Buentello, he won by TKO in the first round. Velasquez faced then-undefeated Jeremiah Constant at BodogFight: St. Petersburg, he won via TKO in the first round at the 4-minute mark.[25]

Velasquez made his UFC debut against Brad Morris at UFC 83 and won by TKO in the first round.

In his next fight, Velasquez defeated Jake O'Brien at UFC Fight Night 14 via TKO in round one.[26]

Velasquez then faced Denis Stojnić at UFC Fight Night 17 and the fight was stopped in round two with Velasquez earning the victory by TKO. Velasquez earned Knockout of the Night honors for his performance.[27]

Velasquez's next fight was at UFC 99 against former kickboxer and heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo. Velasquez was once again dominant, landing 251 strikes and winning the bout by unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 30–27).[28]

His next opponent was expected to be Shane Carwin[29] with the winner likely challenging for the UFC Heavyweight Championship held by Brock Lesnar. However, that bout was scrapped[30] and Velasquez was instead told he would be fighting UFC newcomer Ben Rothwell at UFC 104.[31][32] He defeated Rothwell by second-round TKO.[33]

Velasquez faced former Pride Heavyweight Champion and former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira on February 20, 2010, at UFC 110.[34] Going into the fight, some commentators predicted that Nogueira would take the victory due to a supposed lack of striking power for Velasquez.[35] They were proven wrong when Velasquez defeated Nogueira via first-round KO, earning Knockout of the Night honors.[35]

UFC Heavyweight Champion[edit]

With his victory over Nogueira, Velasquez earned a UFC Heavyweight Championship fight with then-champ Brock Lesnar at UFC 121. UFC brought back UFC Primetime to promote Lesnar vs. Velasquez.[36] Velasquez defeated Lesnar via TKO in the first round, earning Knockout of the Night honors.

Velasquez suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder during his fight with Lesnar and was expected to be sidelined for at least six to eight months.[37] Surgery on the shoulder was successful and Velasquez planned to return as early as Fall 2011.[38]

Velasquez was expected to make his first title defense against Junior dos Santos, with a target date of November 19, 2011, at UFC 139,[39] but the fight was later moved to November 12, 2011, to headline the first UFC on Fox 1 event.[40] Velasquez suffered his first loss, via KO (punches), at 1 minute and 4 seconds of the first round.[41] While not public information at the time, it was later revealed that Dos Santos already had a minor knee injury (a torn meniscus), and took an injection of cortisone into the knee before the fight, followed by information revealing that Velasquez had re-injured his rotator cuff approximately a week before the fight. Junior dos Santos would undergo knee surgery following the fight.[42]

Velasquez was originally set to fight Frank Mir on May 26, 2012, at UFC 146.[43] However, Mir was moved up to face Junior dos Santos after Alistair Overeem was suspended for elevated testosterone levels. Velasquez instead faced Antônio Silva.[44] Velasquez defeated Silva via first-round TKO, in a fight that saw Silva bleed profusely from his forehead. After the fight, Dana White strongly hinted that Velasquez would be the next fighter to challenge for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. It is widely thought that the reason White made the decision to have the rematch with Dos Santos at such an unexpected time, was because both fighters were injured going into their first fight.[45]

A rematch was expected with Junior dos Santos on September 22, 2012, at UFC 152.[46] However, the date for the rematch had been set to December 29 was later set for UFC 155.[47] In the rematch, Velasquez defeated Dos Santos in a dominating performance[48] via unanimous decision (50–45, 50–43, and 50–44) to regain the UFC heavyweight title.[49][50] Velasquez became the first fighter in UFC history to post triple digits in significant strikes landed and double digits in takedowns landed in a single fight, landing 111 significant strikes and eleven takedowns in his second fight against Dos Santos.[51]

In his first title defense Velasquez defeated Antônio Silva in a rematch on May 25, 2013, at UFC 160.[52] He defeated him via TKO (punches) at 1:21 seconds into the first round.

A rubber match with Junior dos Santos took place at UFC 166 on October 19, 2013, in Houston, Texas.[53] Velasquez defended his title for a second time again defeating dos Santos in a mostly one-sided affair ending in TKO at 3:09 of the fifth round.

On April 29, 2014, the UFC selected Velasquez and Fabrício Werdum as coaches for the inaugural installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, with the two expected to face each other on November 15, 2014, at UFC 180.[54][55] However, on October 21, 2014, Velasquez pulled out of the bout due to a torn meniscus and sprained MCL in his right knee, and was replaced by Mark Hunt.[56] On October 23, 2014, Velasquez underwent successful surgery to repair his torn meniscus.[57]

A rescheduled bout with UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Fabrício Werdum took place on June 13, 2015, at UFC 188.[58] In a back-and-forth affair, Velasquez lost the fight via guillotine choke submission in the third round.[59] Velasquez would later admit that he had not adequately prepared for the fight, held in Mexico City which sits at an altitude of 7,300 feet, as he had only moved his camp to elevation two weeks before the day of the card. In contrast, Werdum had spent more than a month in Mexico City to acclimate to the higher altitude.[60]

Post title loss, injuries, hiatus, and retirement[edit]

A rematch with Werdum was expected to take place on February 6, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 82 until both fighters backed out citing injuries.[61]

Velasquez next faced Travis Browne on July 9, 2016, at UFC 200.[62] He won the fight via TKO in the closing seconds of the first round.[63]

The rematch against Werdum was rescheduled and expected to take place on December 30, 2016, at UFC 207.[64] However the Nevada State Athletic Commission failed to approve Velasquez to fight, determining after physical examinations and interviews that he was unfit to compete due to bone spurs on his back.[65]

As the first fight of his new, four-fight contract Velasquez headlined UFC's inaugural event on ESPN, UFC on ESPN 1 against Francis Ngannou on February 17, 2019.[66][67] He lost the fight via KO in the first round.[68]

On October 4, 2019, after Velasquez's first appearance for the WWE, it was revealed that Velasquez will be withdrawing from the USADA testing pool to focus on his professional wrestling career.[69] Subsequently, Velasquez announced his retirement from MMA on October 11, 2019.[70]

Fighting style[edit]

Velasquez has a style that could be described as "swarming". He moves forward constantly, giving opponents very little room to land clean strikes, all while utilizing powerful and extremely swift punching combinations. He typically starts with a jab, follows up with a hard straight right, and then adds hooks and uppercuts as the fight progresses.[71] He is strong in the clinch, where he throws long combinations that typically end in a takedown.[71]

If Velasquez knocks his opponent to the ground during a fight, he often uses grappling skills to maintain a dominant position while he continues to strike from above.[71] He does not usually attempt submissions. All of his wins have either come by striking from punches, or by decision.[72]

Velasquez has also been praised consistently for his cardiovascular training; he has tremendous endurance that allows him to continue to fight aggressively after his opponents have become exhausted, earning him the nickname "Cardio Cain".[71] Velasquez's strong cardio also allows him to throw more strikes. As of July 2013, he was ranked Number 1 for the most strikes landed per minute in the UFC.[73]

Professional wrestling career[edit]


Velasquez has been a fan of professional wrestling since he was young. On July 19, 2018, it was reported that he trained in the WWE Performance Center under head coach Norman Smiley and later attended Diamond Dallas Page's yoga session. He had attended an NXT event the previous night.[74]

Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (2019)[edit]

In March 2019, Velasquez signed a multi-match agreement with Mexican professional wrestling promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide as a heavyweight competitor. Velasquez made his debut for the promotion at Triplemanía XXVII in a trios match, teaming with Cody Rhodes and Psycho Clown to face Texano Jr, Taurus, and Killer Kross.[75] Velasquez's debut surprised many fans, as he donned a luchador mask throughout the whole match and displayed many athletic moves, such as using a hurricanrana. Velasquez picked up the victory for his team by submitting Texano Jr. with a Kimura lock. Velasquez's in-ring debut received positive reviews by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer and many other professional wrestling journalists, as well as other professional wrestlers and Velasquez's American Kickboxing Academy teammate Daniel Cormier.[76] Velasquez competed in his second and final AAA match at Lucha Invades NY, where he teamed with Brian Cage and Psycho Clown to defeat Rey Escorpión, Texano Jr., and Taurus.[77]

WWE (2019–2020)[edit]

On October 4, 2019, on the first episode of SmackDown on Fox, which was also the show's 20th Anniversary, Velasquez made his WWE debut, accompanied by Rey Mysterio, coming out to confront and eventually attack Brock Lesnar after his WWE Championship victory as a measure of revenge for Lesnar attacking Mysterio and his son, Dominick, earlier in the week. Velasquez took Lesnar down and pummeled him with punches before Lesnar escaped the ring and retreated.[78] Velasquez then was scheduled to face Lesnar at Crown Jewel for the WWE Championship on October 31, which Velasquez lost.[79] Following the match, Lesnar attacked Velasquez with a steel chair and delivered an F-5 onto another steel chair, before Mysterio intervened and saved him.[80] In January 2020, WWE had planned to use Velasquez at their Royal Rumble pay-per-view event, but he suffered an injury and the idea was scrapped. On April 28, 2020, Velasquez was released from his WWE contract due to budget cuts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.[81]

Return to AAA (2021–present)[edit]

On October 9, it was announced that Velasquez would be returning to AAA on December 4. On October 18, it was announced that Velasquez would team with Psycho Clown and Pagano to face Los Mercenarios (Rey Escorpion and Taurus) and a mystery partner at Triplemanía Regia II.[82]

Personal life[edit]

Velasquez speaks English and Spanish.[83] He has been a guest star on the Spanish-language television networks Telemundo and Univision,[84] as well as Mexico's Televisa Deportes.[85] In addition to his Spanish-language TV appearances, he was also a featured guest on the TBS late night show Lopez Tonight.[86]

Velasquez is known for sporting a prominent "Brown Pride" tattoo on his upper chest. He says this tattoo is a tribute to his Mexican heritage.[87][88]

Velasquez and his wife Michelle have a daughter born in 2009 and a son born in 2018.[89] The couple married on May 28, 2011.[90][91]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
17 matches 14 wins 3 losses
By knockout 12 2
By submission 0 1
By decision 2 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 14–3 Francis Ngannou KO (punches) UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez February 17, 2019 1 0:26 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 14–2 Travis Browne TKO (punches) UFC 200 July 9, 2016 1 4:57 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Performance of the Night.
Loss 13–2 Fabrício Werdum Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 188 June 13, 2015 3 2:13 Mexico City, Mexico Lost the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 13–1 Junior dos Santos TKO (slam and punch) UFC 166 October 19, 2013 5 3:09 Houston, Texas, United States Defended the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 12–1 Antônio Silva TKO (punches) UFC 160 May 25, 2013 1 1:21 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 11–1 Junior dos Santos Decision (unanimous) UFC 155 December 29, 2012 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 10–1 Antônio Silva TKO (punches) UFC 146 May 26, 2012 1 3:36 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 9–1 Junior dos Santos KO (punches) UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos November 12, 2011 1 1:04 Anaheim, California, United States Lost the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 9–0 Brock Lesnar TKO (punches) UFC 121 October 23, 2010 1 4:12 Anaheim, California, United States Won the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Knockout of the Night.
Win 8–0 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira KO (punches) UFC 110 February 21, 2010 1 2:20 Sydney, Australia Knockout of the Night.
Win 7–0 Ben Rothwell TKO (punches) UFC 104 October 24, 2009 2 0:58 Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 6–0 Cheick Kongo Decision (unanimous) UFC 99 June 13, 2009 3 5:00 Cologne, Germany
Win 5–0 Denis Stojnić TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lauzon vs. Stephens February 7, 2009 2 2:34 Tampa, Florida, United States Knockout of the Night.
Win 4–0 Jake O'Brien TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin July 19, 2008 1 2:02 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 3–0 Brad Morris TKO (punches) UFC 83 April 19, 2008 1 2:10 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Win 2–0 Jeremiah Constant TKO (punches) BodogFight: St. Petersburg December 16, 2006 1 4:00 St. Petersburg, Russia
Win 1–0 Jesse Fujarczyk TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Tank vs. Buentello October 7, 2006 1 1:58 Fresno, California, United States

NCAA record[edit]

NCAA Championships Matches
Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event
2006 NCAA Championships 4th at HWT
Win 7–3 Bode Ogunwole 5–1 March 18, 2006 2006 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Loss 6–3 Cole Konrad 2–2 TB
Win 6–2 Kirk Nail 4–3
Win 5–2 Paul Weibel Fall
Win 4–2 Joel Edwards Fall
2005 NCAA Championships 5th at HWT
Loss 3–2 Greg Wagner 1–4 March 19, 2005 2005 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Loss 3–1 Cole Konrad 2–6
Win 3–0 Matt Feast 4–2
Win 2–0 Marc Allenmang Major 9–1
Win 1–0 Payam Zarrinpour 5–1


See also[edit]


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  91. ^ "Raising Cain: An interview exclusive with Cain Velasquez". May 6, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  92. ^ a b c "Fighter Stats". Fight Metric. Ultimate Fighting Championship. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  93. ^ Breen, Jordan (January 5, 2013). "'s 2012 All-Violence Team". Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  94. ^ Breen, Jordan (January 12, 2014). "'s 2013 All-Violence Team". Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  95. ^ Meltzer, Dave (January 27, 2014). "Jan 27 2014 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: 2013 Annual awards issue, best in the world in numerous categories, plus all the news in pro-wrestling and MMA over the past week and more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 1–37. ISSN 1083-9593.
  96. ^ a b Cain Velasquez Archived July 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Museum

External links[edit]

Preceded by 15th UFC Heavyweight Champion
October 23, 2010 – November 12, 2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by 17th UFC Heavyweight Champion
December 29, 2012 – June 13, 2015
Succeeded by