As the worlds of MMA and WWE continue to collide, the newest name and face to make the jump is one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of the UFC in Cain Velasquez, who was training this week alongside NXT Superstars at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.
Working with WWE Performance Center coach Norman Smiley and taking yoga classes with WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page, the two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion was literally learning the ropes and finding out what it takes to be a WWE Superstar. What Velasquez will be doing with WWE in the future or why he was there is unclear, but the development is interesting nonetheless.
“My experience here has been amazing,” Velasquez said. “I’m just looking forward to being here and learning as much as I can. I’ve been a fan of the sport since I was a little kid, and now I get to participate in it.” A lifelong fan of WWE and Mexican lucha libre wrestling, Velasquez praised the athletes, the atmosphere and the overall feeling of being among many of the WWE hopefuls and knowledgeable trainers.
For those that aren't necessarily familiar with Velasquez, his time in MMA was well documented and well respected. He left with a 14-2 record inside the Octagon and was recognized as one of the few stars to defeat WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar. His particular win over The Beast Incarnate included being crowned the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Velasquez holds records in the UFC Heavyweight ranks, including the most knockouts and the highest significant strike percentage. That said, he's not the first MMA star to explore the idea of working with WWE. After stints by Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn many years ago, recently, names like Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey have used their MMA backgrounds to get a foot in the door with WWE.
Will Velasquez's visit to WWE mean an on-camera appearance down the road? Will he follow in the footsteps of stars like Shamrock and Rousey? If so, will he have something to say to Lesnar who currently holds the Universal Title in WWE but was defeated by Velasquez in UFC?