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Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012

Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Cain Velasquez’s ‘Brown Pride’ Means Nothing If He Can’t Beat Junior Dos Santos

Cain Velasquez

By Joshua Molina

The biggest fight left on the UFC calendar this year is the Dec. 29 Pay Per View heavyweight battle between champ Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.

JDS is the unlikely champion after crushing Velasquez to win the title a year ago.

The UFC will never say this, but top brass really wants Velasquez to win.

Velasquez was supposed to be the company’s lifeline to the large Mexican audience that loves fights. The son of a Mexican immigrant, Velasquez is a proud flag-waiver for the Mexican community, even sporting a controversial “Brown Pride” tattoo on his chest.

Velasquez, a top high school and college wrestler, is a legitimate tough guy and athlete with a ton of marketing and sponsorship potential.

Velasquez was supposedly suffering from a shoulder injury going into the JDS fight, although it wasn’t publicly disclosed before the fight. The injury might explain why he walked into the fight cold, got popped and never recovered.

At the time it was stunning to see Velasquez stand with JDS, rather than take him down and wrestle him. But this time will likely be different. If Velasquez’s destruction of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva is any evidence of his hunger and desire to win, JDS is in big trouble.

This fight is bigger than any championship for Velasquez.

He absolutely cannot lose again, by knockout or submission. This fight will make the difference in determining whether Velasquez is good or great. As a heavyweight he really has nowhere to go if he loses twice to JDS.

One of the unfortunate realities of modern MMA is that fighters rise and fall much faster these days. Think about this: Velasquez is 10-1. He’s already won and lost the championship.

Velasquez, as good as he is, has been brought up too fast.  There is no substitute for experience and unfortunately Velasquez wasn’t able to get his losses out of the way on undercards or in smaller promotions.

Velasquez was rushed to the big stage quick, and therefore a man with 10 pro fights was carrying the weight of the UFC on his shoulders on live UFC on FOX TV.

If Velasquez loses again on Pay Per View, his stock will drop tremendously. He losses will have been so visible that he may never be able to recover from the perception that he choked in his big fights.

The reality is that beating Brock Lesnar for the title isn’t really that big of a deal anymore. Fans don’t have any respect for Lesnar as a top MMA commodity. Lesnar, another guy who was rushed, but for different reasons, collapsed in most of his big fights.

Velasquez needs to win and win big. All eyes are waiting and hoping that he doesn’t turn out to be an epic disappointment. What makes fighters great is how they bounce back after adversity –after getting knocked out.

Velasquez will have to rise up to  be better than JDS. If he really has “Brown Pride,” whatever that is, he needs to win — now or never.

posted by JoshuaM @ 7:43 pm
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