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Morning Report: Joe Rogan says Cain Velasquez is still the best heavyweight he’s ever seen

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

2018 has arguably been the best year of Daniel Cormier’s career. After defending his light heavyweight title in January, Cormier became only the second man to hold belts in two different weight class concurrently when he knocked out Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title at UFC 226. Then, earlier this month, Cormier submitted Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 to defend his heavyweight championship. His recent run has been so spectacular that many people are now putting him in the conversation for Greatest Fighter of All Time. But despite his success, many MMA fans don’t even believe he’s the best heavyweight ever, chief among them, UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

On a recent edition of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Rogan was discussing the advantages and disadvantages of size in the heavyweight division and revealed that he believes Cormier’s friend and teammate, Cain Velasquez, is still the best heavyweight he has ever seen compete.

“There’s a thought with the 265-pound weight class and the consensus thought seems to be that somewhere around 240 pounds is the magic number,” Rogan said. “That’s what they think. They think that 240 pounds is the amount of weight that you have where you’re strong enough that you can knock out any man but you have more endurance than a man that maybe weighs 265 or heavier and cuts down to 265. Now this has not been substantiated. The problem is, there hasn’t been a super powerful world championship athlete that weighed 265 pounds. . .

“It’s hard to say because there’s never been a 265-pound version of Cain Velasquez. Cain Velasquez, in my humble opinion, when I look at all of the different heavyweights that I’ve personally seen fight, Cain stands out as the best. The reason why Cain stands out as the best is because he has superhuman endurance and his ability to put a pace on guys. You would see these guys just wilt under the pressure.”

In recent years, Velasquez has had a hard time getting back in the cage, having suffered numerous injuries that have waylaid his career. In fact, it was partly Velasquez’s injury issues that created the opportunity for Cormier to move back up to heavyweight and challenge Miocic for the title. Rogan opines that the same thing that made Velasquez such a great heavyweight, is also the thing that has caused him so many issues lately and opened the door for Cormier in the Heavyweight GOAT conversation.

“I think with Cain - and this is where it gets really interesting - what did him in is also brought him to the top: his mental toughness,” said Rogan. “His body started breaking down. He started having all these back injuries. He needed back surgery, multiple back surgeries, shoulder surgery, knee surgery, everything was getting f*cked up and I think it was getting f*cked up because he was working through pain and he has the ability to tolerate pain that most people don’t have. He’s just a f*cking animal but that’s also probably what led to him having this insane endurance. It’s the same kind of mental toughness.”

Velasquez is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, winning the title originally after knocking out Brock Lesnar at UFC 121. He then lost the belt immediately to Junior dos Santos but went on to reclaim it in a pair of fights where he mauled dos Santos. After again losing the belt, this time to Fabricio Werdum in 2015, Velasquez has fought just one time. Meanwhile, Cormier has a date with Velasquez’s old foe, Brock Lesnar, sometime early next year in what will be his retirement fight. Maybe after that’s over, Velasquez will finally be able to come back.


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