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Velasquez eyes better effort in return
Cain Velasquez has had some time to think about the first loss of his MMA career, a defeat that cost him the UFC heavyweight championship.
Velasquez was beaten by Junior Dos Santos in the first UFC on FOX broadcast last November, lasting just 64 seconds. He was felled by some thunderous shots from Dos Santos before the fight was stopped.
But it really didn't take him all that long to learn his lesson. Velasquez quickly realized the mistake he made was one of effort.
"Just the game plan. There was no sense of urgency on my part to execute it," Velasquez told FOXSports.com. "I stood on the outside too long and ended up paying the price for it."
It's something Velasquez (10-1) says he'll handle differently Saturday when he returns to the Octagon to take on Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in the co-main event at UFC 146 in Las Vegas.
"I just had to look at the fight and see what I did wrong," Velasquez said. "I had to go back into training and just kind of correct those things. The biggest thing you can do is take the things you learned from that and just move forward. That's all you can do."
Velasquez said he was down for a few days after losing his belt, but that it was his coaching staff who really felt it.
"I think I took it hard, but my coaches took it even harder than me," Velasquez said. "Yeah, it's a team effort. We went in as a team, but I was the central guy who lost out there. Why do you take it so hard?
"We're so close and they put a lot of work into me, so we all kind of lose. But all you can do is move forward form this kind of thing and that's it."
Velasquez's original opponent at UFC 146 was going to be Frank Mir, but when Alistair Overeem tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and was forced out of the main event bout with Dos Santos, the UFC replaced Overeem with Mir. The whole all-heavyweight main card needed to be reshuffled after that, and Silva ended up as Mir's replacement against Velasquez.
So with his opponent changed mid-training camp, Velasquez naturally had to alter his training and strategy for the fight. He said Silva and Mir have different fighting styles, so his training style had to change, too. While Mir is known as a great fighter on the ground, Velasquez said Silva (16-3) has an all-around attack that makes him successful.
"He puts everything together really well," Velasquez said. "He does punches, kicks, knees. He's good on the ground. He does everything. He's a guy that really doesn't tire out. He's got a good gas tank. He's a big dude with a good amount of power. So he does everything well."
One advantage Velasquez feels he has heading into his fight with Silva is the fact that one of his training partners already squared off with Bigfoot. Daniel Cormier, who this past Saturday night won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament championship, beat Silva in the semifinals of the same tourney. Velasquez and Cormier train at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose.
"I've been watching what happened between (Silva) and Daniel Cormier," Velasquez said. "I train with Daniel a lot. I have to try to be quicker than him. I think that fighting style with him will do well. I have to be good on the ground with my wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I think I can beat him with that, too. I think (whether we fight) on our feet or on the ground, I'm winning this fight."
While Velasquez said it'll be up to the UFC whether or not a win over Silva puts him back in the title picture, he said having an all-heavyweight main card is something fans will enjoy, which makes him feel good. It's a way for the UFC to show off how good its biggest division is right now.
"I think the talent has never been this high, as far as heavyweights," Velasquez said. "The UFC did a great job of getting a lot of top-level heavyweights into the UFC. And now having the guys from Strikeforce come in, we're definitely going to have the best guys here, for sure. It's going to be great. Everyone's so competitive and everyone's always getting better, so it's a good thing."
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