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Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will be facing previous foe, Fabricio Werdum, in a rematch of their UFC 188 title fight back in June at a date to be determined.
“Vai Cavalo” defeated Velasquez in what had become a landslide fight for the Brazilian by round three, which was also the point in time where the jiu-jitsu black belt locked up a guillotine submission on the one-time NCAA Division-I All-American wrestler.
Heading into the bout, the 33-year-old Velasquez dominated the likes of Junior dos Santos and Antonio Silva, before being finished for only the second time in his MMA career.
Perhaps, what was most odd about the gut-wrenching loss for the Mexican-American was that his normally outstanding cardio was nowhere to be found — this in-part due to the high altitude he was facing in Mexico City, Mexico, which was the host city of UFC 188.
On a stop in NYC for the debut of the new Reebok Fight Kits, Velaquez took some time out to discuss his training, the Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor situation that was UFC 189 and how long he plans to keep fighting with Muscle & Fitness.
M&F: Now that you’ve returned from your layoff, how has your training changed through the years?
Velasquez: We just always try to improve. That’s the name of the game; always trying to get better.
M&F: How often do you strength train and have you done anything specific for your knee?
CV: I do strength training three times a week; a lot of Olympic lifting. A lot of cleans and squats. We’re just trying to be explosive and that’s the name of the game. When you go in on a takedown, it’s all about power and being fast. With the punches and kicks we also try to be explosive and dynamic.
M&F: What workouts do you feel best translate to better performance in the Octagon?
CV: The cleans and jerks. A lot of the stuff with power coming from your hips. The punches — all of that comes from your hips and your feet. That’s where it starts. On takedowns, obviously you’re shooting in and have to be explosive; pretty much from 0-60.
M&F: What do you make of the Jose Aldo situation and that kind of risk versus reward situation?
CV: With the injuries, you just have to be smart. You have to know your body and how serious and injury is — whether you can work through it or it will get worse and become a bad injury that may need surgery later on. We’re always playing that fine line, we’re always going to have injuries and try to train through them, but not hard enough where you end up hurting something really bad where it sets you back so much. Just that little bit of training that you’re doing, even though you’re hurt, it’s not going to benefit you as much unless you take it off and rest. If it can be rested, rest it. If it’s an injury that needs surgery, it needs surgery.
M&F: How much longer do you think you can compete at a high level?
CV: We’ll see what happens, but I’m going to keep doing it until I’m not doing it at a high level. If I start taking steps back then that’s something to look at. Right now, I feel like I’m at the top of my game and I’m going to get that belt back for sure.