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Chael Sonnen: Cain Velasquez Is Most Intimidating Heavyweight Force Ever

As the monumental UFC on FOX broadcast nears, public sentiment seems to favor heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez to retain his belt. That's a shift from a few months ago, when challenger Junior dos Santos opened as a slight favorite against him.

On Friday afternoon, top heavyweight contenders Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem both rode the wave, predicting that Velasquez would emerge victorious. And No. 1 middleweight contender Chael Sonnen one-upped everyone, pronouncing Velasquez as not just the best heavyweight in MMA history, but in all of combat sports history.

"Cain Velasquez for my money is the most intimidating force ever in heavyweight combat," Sonnen said on Friday's edition of MMA Live. "That includes guys like [Mike] Tyson, [Evander] Holyfield, [George] Foreman, whoever you want to name. Velasquez is the most feared of them all."

That's an awfully bold statement, and it can certainly be argued that Velasquez is not nearly well known enough to be considered the most feared heavyweight history has seen. He's fought just nine times, though he is a perfect 9-0 with seven knockouts.

A designation like the one Sonnen bestowed upon Velasquez is usually earned over time, and with only four years in the fight game, the 6-foot-1, 240-pounder doesn't have the lengthy track record that other combat sports stars of the past can boast.

Saturday night's fight is expected to draw one of the largest television audiences in U.S. MMA history, and Velasquez can take a big step in writing that type of legacy with a win over dos Santos in a bout that many believe to be the best UFC heavyweight title matchup ever.

Sonnen, at least, thinks that will happen, expecting Velasquez to wear down his challenger with his stamina.

"Junior's got to win this fight, he's got to win early," he said. "If he doesn't win it in the first round, and realistically if he doesn't win it in the first minutes of the first round, it's going to go from bad to worse."