Childhood & Early Life
Cain Velasquez was born on July 28, 1982 in Salinas, California to Efrain and Isabel Velasquez and was raised in Yuma, Arizona. His father was an undocumented immigrant from Sinaloa, Mexico, while his mother grew up in Fresno, California.
Following his marriage to Isabel, his father attained U.S. citizenship. Cain is one of three children of his parents and has a sister named Adela and a brother named Efrain Jr.
He attended Kofa High School for four years, during which time he had a 110–10 record in wrestling and won the 5A Arizona Wrestling Championship twice. He also played football in the linebacker position for three years, and served as the captain of both the wrestling and tackle football teams.
After completing school, he went to Iowa Central Community College, from where he won the NJCAA National Championship in the heavyweight division. He later took transfer to Arizona State University, earning 86 wins from 103 fights for the Sun Devils, and was placed 4th and 5th in the country in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
Following his college graduation, he joined American Kickboxing Academy to participate in MMA fights professionally. An NCAA Division I Wrestler, he has a brown belt in Guerrilla Jiu-jitsu and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Continue Reading Below
Cain Velasquez started his MMA career at Strikeforce: Tank vs. Buentello on October 7, 2006 against Jesse Fujarczyk, with a win via TKO in the first round. In his next fight, he earned another TKO win against the then-undefeated Jeremiah Constant at BodogFight: St. Petersburg.
He next signed with the UFC and faced Brad Morris at UFC 83 on April 19, 2008, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Once again, he registered a TKO win in the first round, followed by another first-round TKO win against Jake O'Brien at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin in July.
On February 7, 2009, at UFC Fight Night 17, his fight went to second round for the first time, in which he earned ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors defeating Denis Stojnić via TKO. In his next fight at UFC 99, he defeated former kickboxer and heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision.
He continued his run with another TKO win over newcomer Ben Rothwell at UFC 104 on October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. He earned his second ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors by defeating Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, former Pride Heavyweight Champion and former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion, via first round KO at UFC 110 on February 20, 2010.
He went into his next fight against the then UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 on October 23, 2010 with an 8-0 win streak. He won the UFC Heavyweight Championship by defeating Lesnar via TKO in the first round, which earned him 'Knockout of the Night' honors.
During his fight with Lesnar, he suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, and had to undergo surgery. Following his return, he lost his first title defense against Junior dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1 on November 12, 2011 via KO at only 1.04 minutes into the first round.
It was later revealed that neither Cain Velasquez nor Santos was fully fit during the fight, which prompted UFC president Dana White to announce a rematch once they recover from injuries. After a cancelled bout with Frank Mir, he next fought against Antônio Silva at UFC 146 on May 26, 2012, defeating him via first round TKO.
During his rematch with Junior dos Santos at UFC 155 on December 29, 2012, he dominated throughout the fight and won via unanimous decision, regaining the UFC heavyweight title. He also registered a record triple digits in significant strikes landed (111) and double digits in takedowns landed (11) in a single fight, becoming the first fighter in the UFC history to do so.
His next two title defenses were rematches against Antônio Silva and Junior dos Santos at UFC 160 and UFC 166 respectively. He won both bouts; the first one via TKO at 1:21 minutes into the first round and the second via TKO at 3:09 minutes of the fifth round.
He was next scheduled to fight against Fabrício Werdum, but later pulled out due to injury and underwent surgery to repair his torn meniscus. The fight later happened on June 13, 2015, at UFC 188, in which he lost via guillotine choke submission in the third round. His rematch with Fabrício Werdum has been rescheduled a couple times due to injuries.
His last fight was against Travis Browne on July 9, 2016 at UFC 200 in Las Vegas, Nevada – a match he won via TKO in the first round with three seconds to spare. He earned 'Performance of the Night' honors for the fight.
Awards & Achievements
Cain Velasquez won the 'Ultimate Fighting Championship' twice by defeating Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos. He has the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight division history with 10 KO wins, and has earned the 'Knockout of the Night' honors three times.
In 2010, he was named the 'Fighter of the Year' by various MMA publications, including Inside MMA, MMAFighting.com, MMAjunkie.com, MMA Live and Sherdog.
He has also made into Sherdog's 'All-Violence 1st Team' three times in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Personal Life & Legacy
Cain Velasquez appeared publicly with his then-girlfriend Michelle Borquez in June 2007, and confirmed the relationship a month later. They welcomed their first child, a daughter named Coral Love Velasquez, on May 6, 2009.
He proposed to her on February 23, 2010, a couple days after his UFC 110 fight, during a romantic walk on Bondy Beach in Sidney, Australia. They subsequently got married on May 28, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.