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Velasquez: A Paper Champion or a King

By: Jack Slack, FIGHTLAND

"Cain Velasquez is a paper champion.
"He hasn't fought in almost two years, and he hasn't fought anyone not named Junior dos Santos or Antonio Silva since 2010. In fact, the great Fedor Emelianenko—hallowed be his name—retired after losing a step or three in 2012, and yet has as many wins over currently ranked top ten heavyweights as Velasquez. In fact, Velasquez has just fourteen fights to his name and a third of them were against the same two Brazilians. Baddest Man on the Planet? My arse.
"Of course, I don't actually believe what I just wrote about Cain Velasquez being a paper champion. I just like to inspire incredulity in my readers and then swerve on them. Over the past two years I have praised Velasquez relentlessly for just that—he is relentless. Perhaps the most frightening fighter on offense in the UFC right now. Or... two years ago. That is my problem with Cain Velasquez: I keep heaping praise on him; he keeps pulling out of fights. I feel as though he isn't holding up his end of the deal.
"Now, the comment section will already be full of bile from folks who couldn't get past the first two paragraphs, but the awkward facts about Velasquez's record remain true. He didn't ask to fight the same two men on repeat for the last four years, and he didn't choose to tear his body apart in training camp and not make it to fights. Fighters are put in front of him by the UFC, he tries his best to make it to the fight, and when he does he lays down the law. But due to those match ups and dropouts, of all the UFC champions, Velasquez is the one about whom we actually know the least.
"There are a multitude of questions surrounding Cain Velasquez and his next opponent, Fabricio Werdum, seems uniquely suited to make the enquiries."
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