When Cain Velasquez made the decision to put his mixed martial arts career behind him to sign a multi-year deal with WWE, one of the first calls he made was to UFC president Dana White.
Of course, Velasquez needed to let the promotion know that he was retiring but he also wanted to speak to White about leaving the UFC to pursue a new endeavor with WWE. Velasquez relayed that his conversation with White couldn’t have gone any better as his now former boss at the UFC offered him nothing but congratulations on his new career.
This past Friday night at UFC on ESPN 6, White spoke about his end of that conversation as he praised Velasquez’s ability to transition from the Octagon to the squared-circle in WWE and even he was shocked at how well the former heavyweight champion picked up professional wrestling.
“I’m happy for him,” White said at the UFC on ESPN 6 post fight press conference. “Cain’s had some rough injuries that happened, the guy’s been a professional athlete for a long time, collegiate athlete, he’s a super nice guy. When it looks like it’s the end of your career and you’re looking at what to do next, it’s always hard for these guys to figure out what’s next. Where do I fit? What do I do?
“I was always like how is Cain going to wrestle? He’s having problems with his body in MMA and then I saw him doing the [lucha libre] wrestling whatever they call it with the mask on and I was like god*amn he’s pretty good. That’s cool.”
White says before he initially spoke to Velasquez about retiring to focus on WWE, he got a call from the professional wrestling outfit as they sought to speak to the 37-year-old veteran.
It didn’t take him long to realize WWE was interested in putting Velasquez in the ring against Brock Lesnar, who he defeated to win the UFC heavyweight title for the first time back in 2010.
“When I got the call, I got a call from WWE—I knew what they were thinking,” White said. “I was totally cool with it from the minute they called me and didn’t even ask me, they were looking for Cain because I figured that’s what they were going to do because it completely makes sense.
“I’m happy for him. I’m happy for his family. I hope he does well like Ronda [Rousey] did and makes a lot of money and I hope the fans over there love him.”
Rousey made a similar exit from the UFC after she suffered back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes but then received an offer too good to refuse to join the ranks at WWE.
While she’s not actively competing right now, Rousey remains one of the biggest names on the entire WWE roster and she’s currently being featured on their reality series “Total Divas”, which airs on the E! network. She burst on the scene with WWE in 2018 and eventually headlined WrestleMania 35 as part of the first ever all women’s main event in 2019.
Velasquez has already been a major presence on WWE programming for the past few weeks, which will culminate in a showdown with Lesnar at the event called “Crown Jewel”, which takes place in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 31, where he will make his in ring debut.