On Monday, Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight ace Daniel Cormier appeared on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, discussing Velasquez’s return to training. On Sunday evening, Cormier had made a post via Instagram detailing the former UFC heavyweight champion Velasquez’s return to training at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California.
“Getting prepared for something is amazing but anytime @officialcainvelasquez is in the training room you know training goes to another level,” Cormier wrote. “So good to have this dude back, he’s played such a huge part in my journey it’s hard when he’s gone.”
Getting prepared for something is amazing but anytime @officialcainvelasquez is in the training room you know training goes to another level. So good to have this dude back, he’s played such a huge part in my journey it’s hard when he’s gone. I know I’m gonna be ready for Volkan. Let’s go!! #ufc220 #weareaka #whereisluke(@lukerockhold ) @americanethanol @metropcs @monsterenergy @7eleven
Since losing the UFC title to Fabricio Werdum in June 2015, the 35-year-old Velasquez has competed just once inside the Octagon, pounding out Travis Browne in the first round at UFC 2000 in July 2016. Last December, Velasquez was due to rematch Werdum at UFC 207 but was pulled from the contest days before the contest after the Nevada Athletic Commission declined to approve him to fight; Velasquez had publicly admitted to being scheduled for back surgery five days following the contest, as well as using cannabidiol oral spray for pain management during his training camp.
“It’s a process. When you start dealing with some of the injuries that Cain has had, and I’ve seen this since wrestling -- backs and necks and all those types of injuries -- man, it takes time to recover,” Cormier explained. “And I think, for a long time, Cain may have pushed himself when he should’ve rested, and I believe this time he’s actually taken the time to try to let himself heal, and I feel like this will be a chance for him to make a long, sustained run, much longer than he really has over the course of his career.”
Velasquez has been besieged by injuries throughout his career. In addition to his back surgery in January, the 11-year pro has undergone three knee surgeries, two procedures on his left shoulder and one on his elbow, his foot and his hand respectively.
“I have to be smart about going back and can't rush just to make a fight and then risk another injury. My body needs to be 100 [percent]. I can't provide a definitive timeline on when I'll be ready to go, but you'll be the first to know when the time comes,” Velasquez wrote in a social media post in March.
In September, Velasquez stated he was eyeing a return in early 2018.
“He’s had a lot of injuries at bad times. I talked to Cain about this, and it sucks. For a guy who was talented and committed to the sport, he’s probably lost five years,” Cormier told Helwani.
“Can you imagine what Cain Velasquez’s resume would look like without five years worth of time on the shelf? It’s so sad to think about,” Cormier continued. “But, I believe that he has finally gotten himself in a position where his body is going to be able to match his work ethic, his mind, his ferociousness, his mentality, everything, and allow him to go on a run -- a long, sustained run -- to kinda finish out his career.”