Much like how he suffocated foes during his title reign, former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez never allowed Travis Browne a chance to even breathe, let alone find a rhythm in their matchup at UFC 200.
Velasquez pounced on Browne from the start and rocked him with a flashy spinning head kick and follow-up punches. When Browne was able to clear his head after having his legs turn to gelatin, the American Kickboxing Academy fighter drilled him again and eventually scored a technical knocked with three seconds left in the opening round.
It had been over a year since the world last saw Velasquez in action and to say that he was in vintage form would be an understatement. He was every bit the destructive force he was before he lost his title in Mexico to Fabricio Werdum last June, and he believes his effort warrants another shot at heavyweight gold.
“I always want to fight the best guys,” Velasquez said. “I want the winner of Stipe [Miocic) and (Alistair) Overeem.”
Miocic, the reigning heavyweight champion, will defend his crown against Overeem at UFC 203 in Cleveland this September.
As great as he looked, Velasquez wasn’t satisfied with how he fought. The perfectionist is constantly looking to improve his skill set, even though he ran over Browne like a dump truck over an empty bottle.
“I’m never happy with what I have,” he said. “My timing was a little off as far as being able to close the distance. Yeah, it’s good to get a win, but I always want to be better. It’s about improving on those little things as a fighter. That’s just the way I am.”
The spinning head kick, which Velasquez unfurled twice on Saturday, was a prime example of his evolution. Browne never expected the maneuver, and it’s just another example of how Velasquez is improving.
“I’ve been working on that for a while now,” he revealed. “I feel pretty comfortable with it. I just got to a point in the fight where I just threw it. I don’t always train on the same thing. I’m always looking to improve.”
With a disappointing stretch now in his rearview mirror, Velasquez is now completely focused on regaining the spot many never thought he would lose a few years back.
“I want to fight for the title in my next bout,” he reiterated. “I want the winner of Stipe and Overeem. I’ve always said I want to fight the best guys out there.”