Cain Velasquez will return to the Octagon for the first time in more than two years on Sunday when he faces Francis Ngannou in the UFC on ESPN 1 main event.
Once regarded as a fighter who had the potential to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, injuries have robbed Velasquez of many of his prime years. The former UFC champion has only competed twice since 2013, and his American Kickboxing Academy training partner, Daniel Cormier, has claimed the heavyweight throne in his absence.
While Cormier has secured his legacy with a historic 2018 that saw him become a simultaneous two-division champion, Jon Jones remains the only man to beat “DC” in an MMA bout. Although he has been out of action for a while, Velasquez is confident that he would fare well against “Bones.”
“I think I’m good enough,” Velasquez told TMZ Sports. “Jon Jones is an amazing athlete. I’ve watched him in all his fights. I know what he’s capable of. Every guy poses a great challenge. I think he does as well.
“I think I could beat him.”
In the past, Jones has teased a move to heavyweight. However, it seems as though he would rather face Cormier in a trilogy bout at 205 pounds than to move up a division. For now, Jones is scheduled to defend the light heavyweight belt against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2. If he clears out his weight class, a showdown with Velasquez would be one of the most intriguing heavyweight matchups available.
Velasquez will be more than willing if the opportunity arises, although he is currently focused on the task at hand.
“I’ll take on whoever,” he said. “I’m back to fight whoever. To me it doesn’t matter. However it all works out with the UFC and who they want me to fight, I’m down with that. First I’ve got Francis Ngannou — a really tough opponent, really strong opponent. He’s a guy that’s been on a roll.”