Two-time UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez sent shockwaves throughout the sports world when he arrived on the blue brand during the premiere of Friday Night SmackDown, and according to ESPN, those shockwaves are set to continue. Per a report by ESPN writer Marc Raimondi, Velasquez has officially retired from MMA and signed a multi-year deal with WWE.
With that decision, Velasquez closes the book on a 14-3 career that includes a notorious UFC heavyweight title victory over then-champion Brock Lesnar, who retired from MMA following the loss. Velasquez’s final victory in UFC was a 2016 win over Travis Browne — the husband of UFC Hall of Famer and former Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey.
While this is Velasquez’s first foray into WWE, it isn’t the former champion’s sports-entertainment debut. He made his in-ring debut for Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA promotion over the summer in impressive showings that put him on WWE’s radar, according to Raimondi’s report. Now that Velasquez has put pen to paper, he won’t have to look too far for his first rivalry and opponent in the squared circle. Velasquez is set for a rematch with Lesnar, now the WWE Champion, in his debut match at WWE Crown Jewel on Thursday, Oct. 31, streaming live at 8 p.m. AST/1 p.m. ET on the award-winning WWE Network.