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Cain Velasquez addresses back injury drama: 'I'm ready to beat Werdum's ass'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Thursday, a rumor popped up online stating that Cain Velasquez was out of UFC 207.

This came 24 hours after an interview with Velasquez was posted on about his current back injury and upcoming surgery.

On Friday, spoke to Velasquez about his status for UFC 207 and more. Below is that entire conversation:

Ariel Helwani: Are you fighting next Friday?
Cain Velasquez: I am. I'm fighting at UFC 207 against Fabricio Werdum. I'm in shape, I'm ready to go.

Where did all these rumors come from?
Obviously, with the past interview that I did about what's going on with my body and everything else, somebody just thew out something that was bogus on social media, and you know how that is, everybody has a voice now. It wasn't true. I am ready to fight. I'm ready to win.

I was told that after that interview ran, the UFC asked you to get further clearance from your doctor to prove you're healthy enough to fight. Is that true?
Yeah, that's true.

When is that happening?
I'm doing that tomorrow. He's going to look me over and give me the green light and then call the UFC and do the same there.

Are you confident everything will go smoothly?
Yeah, it's going to be an easy process, definitely. I've been working out now for two months, doing everything: wrestling, sparring ... I've been throwing out stuff on social media to show that I am ready. You know, me hitting mitts, that was yesterday.

To the best of your knowledge, was it the UFC that asked for this further clearance or Nevada?
I don't know who it was. The people that I talked to was the UFC. Regardless, it doesn't matter. I'm going to see a doctor tomorrow and he will clear me. I am ready to fight.

Do you regret bringing this injury up in the first place?
No, I don't, because this is what's going on. It's not just me, it's other athletes. This is what we have to live through. I've lied previously in the past about being OK, but I really wasn't. This is an injury, but I'm fine. I can do everything, so this is not going to stop me from winning this fight.

What do you say to people, like Werdum's daughter, who claim you're bringing this up now so you'll have an excuse after the fight?
I never throw out excuses, regardless of what's been going on. People will see on the 30th. I'm confident in what I have and what I can bring to the table. I know what Fabricio's about, he likes to throw these little jabs outside of the ring, but it's all good, man. We get to do it in the cage.

If you weren't fighting Werdum, would you still be fighting next week?
Regardless of who it was, I would fight. It's not just Werdum, but I definitely want to win this fight. With him beating me last time, I want to get that revenge, and I will. That will happen.

Have you done anything differently in training to avoid more injuries this time?
Yeah, definitely. Just train smarter. The key is, be in shape, be smart. I've done some sparring, definitely. It's not as hard as it was before, as far as hard on my body, but I'm still getting workouts in. We're doing what we have to do to be 100 percent and be in the best shape of our lives.

You mentioned in the interview that it's hard for you to stand after ten straight minutes. What if this fight goes this distance? How will that affect you?
I'll be fine. I'm getting a cortisone shot. I'll be 100 percent, no problem. I'm doing two-hour practices now on my feet. I'm good, and I will be good.

Do you have to get a therapeutic use exemption for the Cannabidiol you're taking to reduce the pain?
I'm not using it anymore. Just to get through the whole camp, I didn't want to take any painkillers and be all jacked up and be an addict. I don't want that for myself. All in all, the bottom line is, I'm ready to go. I'm ready to beat Werdum's ass, and that's it.

What has this past month been like for you since you helped launch the MMAAA, announced the injury and now this? You don't usually seek the spotlight, so I'm wondering if this has affected you at all?
I'm fine. I feel like with the years of competing, it's really hard to get at me. This type of stuff that's out there, it doesn't upset me, I'm not dwelling on it. I'm focused on the fight. I'm really good in that sense, just having a one-track mind. Everything else, I pretty much don't really think about.

Bjorn Rebney's involvement in the MMAAA has been a hot topic lately. Do you have an issue with him being involved?
You know what, I don't know anybody in the industry. I just always kept my head down and did my job as a fighter, that's it. I like to get to know people first before I make judgements. And obviously, I'll do my research and stuff, but that's my stance on it.

So far so good?
Yeah, so far so good.

Have you talked to the UFC since you appeared on that conference call and spoke about the back injury?
Yeah, they knew my back was hurt. But I told them, I'm able to train. I'm able to do everything. I feel good. So there's no problem with me not making the fight.

Has anyone from the Nevada Athletic Commission called you?

(Writer's note: The NAC has not replied to multiple queries about this issue since Thursday.)

Is it accurate that this upcoming surgical procedure is less serious than the one you had earlier this year?
It is less serious than the first one. I mean, they are cutting into me. It's a very simple surgery, though. They are just shaving off some bone to make room for my sciatic nerve, and recovery time should be about three weeks. Give me a month to be 100 percent certain, and I should be ready to fight again around March or April.

Is there any chance this rematch against Werdum is your last fight?
No, there's no way this is my last fight. Not yet. Nope.

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