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UFC Hopeful of October Return for Heavyweight Champ Cain Velasquez

TORONTO -- UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is progressing well while rehabilitating from shoulder surgery, and the UFC is hopeful for an October date for his first title defense.

UFC president Dana White shared the recovery timeline following a UFC 129 press conference.

"Cain's good," he said. "He's coming along great. Actually he's going to be here for this fight."

Velasquez suffered a torn right rotator cuff during his UFC championship win over Brock Lesnar last October. His expected return is right around the projection first laid out when the injury was first disclosed in late December. Velasquez will take on the winner of June's UFC 131 fight pitting Lesnar against Junior Dos Santos.

The 28-year-old Velasquez remains unbeaten in his MMA career, improving to 9-0 after his first-round TKO victory against Lesnar.

Exactly which card Velasquez will return on remains undecided. The UFC has yet to officially announce an event in October, though on Wednesday, MMA Fighting confirmed that the promotion is expected to host a card in Liverpool, England during the month.

A Velasquez title defense on that card seems unlikely, though not impossible. Historically, UFC championship fights have been relatively rare outside of North America. Since the start of 2008, only three title fights have occurred outside of the US and/or Canada. The last two took place at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, with lightweight champ BJ Penn losing his belt to Frankie Edgar and middleweight king Anderson Silva defeating Demian Maia. The last UK title fight took place at UFC 80, when Penn successfully defended his belt against Joe Stevenson.

Velasquez will be in Toronto during the weekend as the UFC gathers all seven champions together in one place for the first time.

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