It’s safe to assume that there is great deal of nervousness with any high-level athlete returning to the game after an extended absence due to injury.
However, this prospect is even more daunting if you’re a professional prizefighter. After all, the prospect of getting in a cage with another person hell bent on removing your head from your shoulders is scary enough when your 100% healthy.
Just imagine the nerves if you’re unsure how your body is going to react the first time you ask it to do something after rehabilitating an injury.
Under normal circumstances this would be as unenviable a proposition for UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez as he prepares to enter the cage on November 11. Velasquez has been on the shelf for over a year with a shoulder injury suffered in his title winning domination of Brock Lesnar back in 2010. Unfortunately for Velasquez this this fight coming up against the hard-hitting Brazilian Junior dos Santos is anything but normal as the two will be the featured fight on the UFC’s historic inaugural fight on network television.
As far as fight cards go, this may be the biggest one, in terms of cultural relevance, in the history of the sport.
Despite the enormity of the event Velasquez seems unfazed by all the hoopla.
“I’m going to treat it like any regular fight I’ve had,” Velasquez said on a media call this afternoon. “I’m not really thinking about the magnitude of the fight, I’m just thinking of the fight itself. “
Velasquez would later state, “For me it’s just a great opportunity. I’m hoping to make it an exciting fight for the fans. We’re definitely going to do out there and throw down and the fans are going to like that.”
The UFC, arguably, couldn’t have picked to more fan-friendly fighters to christen their debut on FOX. Both Velasquez and dos Santos are two hulking heavyweights with a penchant to stand and trade cage rattling bombs. Fireworks in this fight aren’t so much expected as they are guaranteed. Additionally, when you factor in that both fighters are humble, soft-spoken, engaging, and, well you have yourself a recipe for record viewership of an MMA fight.
UFC President Dana White mirrors these sentiments.
“I’m confident in Junior and Cain,” explained White. “We made this fight the first fight on free TV for a reason. That’s why we made this fight because it’s going to be an awesome fight.”
I have to agree with White on this, yes, it’s going to be an awesome fight. However, despite the gravity of being the biggest fight in UFC history, Velasquez takes it all in stride.
“There’s always butterflies [when I fight],” explains the UFC champion. “Right now it’s not going to be any more than usual. For me, that makes me feel ready as it is natural for me to be nervous.”