A lot has changed in the heavyweight division since former champion Cain Velasquez last stepped into the cage. Perhaps most notably, Stipe Miocic burst into title contention, captured the title, and defended it a record-breaking three straight times.
Although Stipe Miocic broke the record for the most consecutive defenses of the UFC heavyweight title, he ultimately lost his title to Velasquez training partner Daniel Cormier, who still holds the belt today. Since then, Miocic has been adamant that he deserves an immediate rematch with Cormier based on his previous dominance as champion.
Speaking at a Tuesday media lunch in Phoenix — the site of his Sunday night battle with Francis Ngannou — Cain Velasquez addressed the possibility of Miocic getting an immediate rematch with Cormier.
While Velasquez respects Miocic, and is impressed by what he achieved during his title reign, he’s not sure he deserves an immediate title shot.
“Stipe just put in work when he needed to do it, and he won when he needed to do it. My hat’s off to him, with the guys that he’s fought. I believe he’s been a great champion,” Velasquez said of Miocic (transcript via Cageside Press). “I knew just going in and watching him throughout his career, I knew how good he was.
“When [Daniel Cormier] had the opportunity to fight him, I didn’t see anywhere where Daniel would lose that fight. I was pretty confident in that,” he continued.
“Just because you were the reigning, defending heavyweight champion, doesn’t mean you get a title shot right away,” he concluded.
What do you think of these comments from Cain Velasquez?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/13/2019.