"I just know what's on the line again. I can't take him lightly. Some guys have taken him lightly. I need to go in there and take care of business. Especially in the heavyweight division, anything can happenÂ… There are a lot of guys with longer reach advantage than me. I need to use head movement, like Mike Tyson. He was an extreme case of using head movement. That's how he got inside and that's what I need to do. Use the head movement and then get in and get my shots and get out," stated UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who talked about his upcoming clash this Saturday with top challenger Antonio "Big Foot" Silva. Check out what else he had to say about the fight and much more!
SWD: What was the feeling like to regain the title and do it in such a dominant fashion against a great fighter like Junior?
CV: It was a great feeling, not just to win it, but revenge. Yeah, and having to dig deep in those 5 rounds was definitely rewarding afterwards. I always knew that I can do a 5-round fight and keep the pace, but nobody ever expects a heavyweight fight to go the distance.
SWD: Especially in I think it was the 4th when you could tell that your cardio was getting tested and Junior came back with a couple of shots. Was that a moment where you said I need to pick up the pace and grind out this guy again?
CV: In my head, it was just keep doing what I was doing. You know, when he did hit me with a couple of shots, I mean, it didn't feel that bad. I didn't feel like I was in danger. Some of those shots it seemed like he was tired out.
SWD: Was that moment of victory better than the first time you became a champion?
CV: I think so. Coming in and having something to prove and regain myself, also having a whole year after the loss, I kept that fight running through my head the whole time. It was hard not having the belt. I spent a year just thinking about it all the time.
SWD: Last time we spoke, which was just before the Dos Santos fight, you certainly didn't reveal a strategy, but I'm going to quote what you did say. "The first fight, I stayed back too long. I didn't really use my style of fighting. This time, my style of fighting is being aggressive and that's what I need to do. We can't sit back and let him get comfortable and do what we know he wants to do." As you prepare to defend your belt again, other than your style of fighting, is there anything you learned from losing and regaining your title?
CV: I think that's it. I have to do my game plan and what I've been practicing for months. I've also learned that when I have injuries and I'm not up to 100%, I should think about not taking the fight. It's not worth it if I'm not 100%
SWD: So this is a very different fight for you. You've been in a rematch before, but you were coming from the other side. Knowing what you didn't do in the first fight and knowing what you needed to do, how do you prepare the 2nd time for a guy that you dominated, yet knowing he is a dangerous fighter?
CV: I just know what's on the line again. I can't take him lightly. Some guys have taken him lightly. I need to go in there and take care of business. Especially in the heavyweight division, anything can happen.
SWD: Is there a psychological advantage here after you've knocked somebody out before and now you're fighting him again?
CV: There could be, but I don't know what he's thinking. I'm not sure if it affects him. I know in my head, I'm just taking this seriously and making sure I got out and do what I'm capable of.
SWD: Well, here's a little bit of what he's thinking. I'm going to quote a recent interview with Silva. "I think the main thing is in our first fight, I was nervous and I was anxiousÂ…I replaced those emotions now. Now I'm driven, I really want this. Comparing my style of fighting to Cain's style of fighting, I would have to be born again to become faster than Cain Velasquez. I have 30 pounds on him, he's going to be faster than me, so I need to work with what I have. I have to work with what I have, I have very heavy, heavy hands." With him saying that, if you're Big Foot, and I'm guessing that you've looked at it this way, what do you think he's going to try and do different?
CV: You know, with his style, he could come out more aggressive. You have to be ready for that. His best bet is his power in is hands. For us, we can't stand in front of him too long; can't make it a fight where I swing and stay and exchange punches. I need to hit and move, hit and move. I need to be quicker than him and look for the takedown if it's there.
SWD: Do you think he'll try and keep the fight standing?
CV: I think it's his best bet. He's strong and if he gets on top of you, that's the spot where you don't want to be. Everybody is so good at Jiu Jitsu now and the playing field is level, so whoever's on top has the advantage. If you're on the bottom, you're losing.
SWD: He has a 3-inch height and a 5-inch reach advantage, but he really doesn't fight long as far as using his legs. How do you counter or negate those things?
CV: There are a lot of guys with longer reach advantage than me. I need to use head movement, like Mike Tyson. He was an extreme case of using head movement. That's how he got inside and that's what I need to do. Use the head movement and then get in and get my shots and get out.
SWD: I know you always prepare for a 5-round fight, but are you going out to finish this or do you expect it to go the distance.
CV: I always prepare to fight a 5-round fight and be ready for everything. I'm not looking for a quick knockout. If it happens, it happens. When I get ready mentally and visualize the fight over and over, it's a grueling fight.
SWD: As a champion and someone always looking to improve, what have you focused most on in this camp?
CV: Kind of the same thing. We're always trying to improve, but it's overall and then what I'm going to do when I get out there. That's for every fight. We get an opponent and we put together a game plan and then we practice it over and over again, so by fight time, it's second nature.
SWD: Let's switch gears for a moment and talk about Daniel Cormier. Is he really that good, and if so, why?
CV: I think he's that good because I train with him. I spar 3 times a week with him and I haven't been in a harder fight than with him. Part of it is we know each other's style, so it's harder to do well against each other. One week, he does better, then the next week, it's me. But I've never been in a harder fight.
SWD: Do you think he'll be as good or better at 205?
CV: I think with fighting guys that are not guys bigger than him, he'll be better. He'll be even bigger than some of them.
SWD: How would he match up with Jon Jones if they fought today.
CV: I think he would match up well. I think he has a good chance of winning that fight. Overall, as far as athleticism, wrestling, and being quick, I think Cormier matches up well.
SWD: He has clearly stated that he will not fight you as his friend and brother under any circumstances and thus, the proposed drop to Light Heavyweight. If you were ever in a position where he was the champion in the heavyweight division, would you fight him?
CV: No. No, I wouldn't.
SWD: He has your back so much, he's even saying that he sees this as another dominating, easy victory for you? Do you appreciate your friends saying those things or is it more of a, "Dude, just let me do this and don't put out claims like that thing"?
CV: It doesn't matter to me. He states his opinion and I can't let that get in my head. In my head, I have a long fight and a grueling fight. He can say whatever he wants. He's my coach and teammate also, but I have to be ready and just go out there and execute.
SWD: Thanks so much for your time, Cain, and good luck to you on the 25th.
CV: Thank you. I appreciate that.