Cain Velasquez may have handed Antonio Silva one of the bloodiest defeats in UFC history last year, but that does not mean the UFC heavyweight champion is overlooking the massive Brazilian in their rematch.
“This is a whole new fight. Obviously, we saw what ‘Bigfoot’ can do in his past two fights,” said Velasquez during a recent media conference call. “You can’t take him lightly. He’s a tough competitor and really dangerous in the Octagon. I don’t see it as anything less than a hard, grueling fight. That is what I am expecting.”
Velasquez and Silva will collide for a second time in the main event of UFC 160, which takes place May 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas -- the site of Velasquez’s one-sided triumph at UFC 146. That contest was notable for Velasquez’s complete domination of “Bigfoot,” as the American Kickboxing Academy standout put Silva on his back early and punished him with an extended barrage of punches and elbows until referee Josh Rosenthal had seen enough.
Following that victory, Velasquez went on to recapture the UFC heavyweight title from Junior dos Santos, avenging his 2011 defeat to “Cigano” by blasting the Brazilian for 25 minutes en route to a unanimous decision victory this past December at UFC 155. In spite of those superior performances, Velasquez maintains that he is still eager to show why he is regarded as the sport’s finest heavyweight.
“To me, [defending the belt] is the most important thing, just to hold onto it. This is the position I want to be in. I have to go out there and perform,” said Velasquez. “As far as motivation, it’s there. A rematch is what it is. We fought before, and you learn from that fight, but you can’t think too much of it.”
Silva, meanwhile, rattled off back-to-back knockout wins following his defeat to Velasquez, first stopping previously unbeaten Hawaiian Travis Browne before wrecking the favored Alistair Overeem on Feb. 2 at UFC 156.
Though Velasquez plans to utilize a similar strategy in his rematch with Silva, the champion is fully aware that his foe will likely alter his approach in an effort to produce a different result.
“I have to be ready for everything, for whatever his game plan is -- if he comes out more aggressive or comes with different stuff,” Velasquez said. “I’m hungry, and I want the win. Obviously there might be a different game plan from ‘Bigfoot,’ maybe, but that’s the only thing that is different in this fight. As far as being hungry and wanting the win, I am 100 percent there.”