Velasquez Signs with WWE, Retires from MMA
Yesterday, Cain Velasquez was officially confirmed for WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, and he signed a multi-year deal with the wrestling promotion.
But with that comes an expected caveat. Following reports from last week that stated Velasquez intended to withdraw from the USADA testing pool, Velasquez confirmed with ESPN’s Marc Raimondi that he has gone through with the process and has officially retired from MMA.
“This is definitely my focus,” Velasquez said last week. “My family is into it. They love it. They’re super excited. I haven’t seen them excited over something like this in a while. It’s cool.”
Velasquez is the third former UFC fighter now currently on the WWE roster, alongside WWE champion Brock Lesnar, his Crown Jewel opponent and former UFC nemesis, and the inactive former UFC and Raw women’s champion Ronda Rousey. The UFC and WWE have shared talent since the 1990s that has also included Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn.
Velasquez made his pro MMA debut in 2006, scoring a win each in Strikeforce and BodogFight before his Octagon debut at UFC 83 in 2008. He defeated Lesnar for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 121 in October 2010 but lost the title in his first defense a year later to Junior dos Santos. He regained the title from JDS at UFC 155 and made successful defenses against him and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva before dropping the belt to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188.
His time between the JDS trilogy bout and loss to Werdum started a time filled with injuries that ultimately plagued and shortened his UFC career. He defeated Travis Browne at UFC 200 but did not compete again until UFC Phoenix earlier this year, where he was knocked out in just over 30 seconds by Francis Ngannou.
Velasquez made his professional wrestling debut with Mexican promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide earlier this year, earning significant praise for his athletic in-ring ability. He made his first WWE programming appearance on the FOX premiere of SmackDown on October 4.
Original Story: ESPN