The highly anticipated return of Cain Velasquez was at least partly spoiled by his infamous sworn enemy: the virus of injury.
After more than 30 months of suspension from the competition, Velasquez 's comeback bout in the UFC Phoenix main event on Sunday against Francis Ngannou only lasted 26 seconds. The end came when Velasquez tried to attack Ngannou and the imposing French responded with a few punches. Velasquez fell on the carpet, then returned to his forehead, seemingly unable to defend himself while referee Jason Herzog intervened.
Velasquez let out a roar of frustration immediately after the stop and reruns seemed to indicate that his left knee had escaped. He confirmed it during the evening, after the fight, explaining when the injury had occurred and how devastating the result was for him.
"I just can not believe it happened," Velasquez said. "Having a good camp to the finish, really, everything I said, as I felt strong, it was quite true. As I entered, I felt well, relaxed, then taking a step with my left foot. I just felt something pop and when I tried to take a step further, it just gave me up. My knee escaped, I can not even believe it happened.
"Go to 100 percent healthy. 100% ready and just to have this weird accident, I can not even believe it. It's just difficult. It's sport, that's what we do. That's what happens sometimes. It's really frustrating because the fire in me is stronger than ever. At the camp, super camp, great camp. And then that happens. "
Velasquez hypothesized that his meniscus or MCL could have been injured, but further investigation would be needed. He felt a sound in his left leg as he moved forward, then when he tried to move again, it was when he completely let go. To make matters worse for Velasquez, to his knowledge, he had never had a problem with his left knee.
After a thorough examination of the arrival, it seems that at least one of Ngannou's counter-attacks landed properly and Velasquez was questioned about the importance of Ngannou's power over the arrival and the importance of his injury.
"It was just the knee, he did not even touch me, you know?" Said Velasquez. "It was just the knee. As soon as I felt the knee bend, it was as if I could not believe it had happened. And then it was over.
"I had the impression of being injured in the leg by the head, but that did not frighten me at all," continued Velasquez. "None of the punches touched me or did anything for me where I felt like I was unbalanced or anything. Just getting inside and it was just a weird thing that happened with my knee. "
Velasquez did not reproach Ngannou for taking part in the killing, nor for Herzog for the quick stop. If anything, it seemed that he was the most disappointed by his body betraying him once again.
"It was not serious because the referee saw my knee flex." Velasquez said. "The referee saw my knee loop. His job is to ensure 100% security and he did it. Even for me, just to deal with what happened at that time, even after: the referee did the right job, he did the right job tonight.
"I have a lot of respect for [Ngannou] – I have a lot of respect for many fighters, it's like that. Before the fight, a lot of respect, but I'm here to kill him, "continued Velasquez." After the fight, a lot of respect, especially for him, as a competitor.
"I fought tonight."
Velasquez could not talk about the severity of the injury nor give any timetable for his next fight. When asked if he could act out of his last fight, Velasquez simply stated that he would only stop when he felt that he was not there. could not be the best "and that it was not" the case of all this camp ". years ago, the UFC already has two heavyweight reigns on his resume, although he has more than one victory in his last three fights dating back to June 2015.
Velasquez's keynote in Sunday's description of the fight was "frustrating" because, aside from the way it all ended, Velasquez felt like home in the octagon.
"We'll see what happens in the future," Velasquez said. "Again, knowing what I had been doing for three years and two months, getting ready for this camp, I felt ready. Extremely ready I felt calm, as if the Octagon was the place where I needed to be and I felt good. It was great to come back. It was good with him.
"And then the terrible accident with the knee has just come out. It's frustrating, but we'll check everything. The fire in me is still strong and I guess I have a lot to prove and I am very capable of doing it. "