COLOGNE, Germany – Cain Velasquez will someday, and soon, wear the Ultimate Fighting Championship's heavyweight title belt around his waist.
If anyone doubted Velasquez's authenticity as a contender in a suddenly powerful division, Velasquez had to change those opinions with a dominant victory over Cheick Kongo at UFC 99 on Saturday at Lanxess Arena.
The former All-American wrestler at Arizona State wasn't as sharp as he has been and, most importantly, as he will be.
He made a few mistakes in his standup game and he failed to transition from the pounding he was giving Kongo onto the ground into a finishing maneuver.
But Velasquez has more weapons than just about anyone in the division and most of them were on display Saturday.
Kongo hurt him with right hands at the beginning of round, but Velasquez managed to fight through it. In each instance, he quickly took Kongo to the mat and simply mauled him for most of the round.
At the end, Kongo was on all fours, blood dripping from his nose and mouth, so wearied, beaten and exhausted he was unable to get up.
Mike Swick, Velasquez's highly regarded teammate at the San Jose, Calif., American Kickboxing Academy, said the performance Velasquez gave Saturday is what those who train at AKA alongside him see every day.
"Cain is a huge inspiration for myself and a lot of guys who train with him," Swick said. "He's a very hard worker, he's very dedicated and extremely skilled and talented. I've never boasted about any fighter ever until I saw Cain. I don't want to add pressure to him, but I really respect him a lot and it was great coming here with him and fighting on the card with him.
"He really motivated me a lot. I wish good things for him. I can see him with the belt. There's no doubt in my mind. For sure."
Velasquez, who is now 6-0, was making a huge leap in competition. He had beaten Brad Morris, Jake O'Brien and Dennis Stojnic in three previous UFC bouts, none of whom will ever be confused with a title contender.
Kongo most definitely was that. He came into the fight on a three-bout winning skein and with wins in five of his last six. He has never lost via stoppage in 10 UFC fights.
Velasquez, though, tossed him around as if he were a junior varsity wrestler.
Velasquez didn't have much to say other than that he's not affected by the high expectations others place upon him. He offered that he needs to improve his striking and wanted to incorporate more movement.
He's a lot like a young Randy Couture, the UFC Hall of Famer who became a complete mixed martial artist after coming to MMA following a standout wrestling career. Couture was a force almost immediately in the UFC because of his high-caliber wrestling, just as Velasquez is a force now because of his.
But as Couture added additional aspects to his game, he became one of the greats in the sport's history.
Velasquez has the same kind of potential. It's simply a matter of time before UFC president Dana White climbs into the cage and is strapping the belt around his waist.
"This guy is going to be a monster some day," White said. "When he figures it all out, man. He's going to be a scary dude."