Velasquez talks opponents, competition and racing

Maggie Hendricks

CREST HILL, Ill. --UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is the person most affected by Brock Lesnar pulling out of his bout with Junior dos Santos, but he responded to the change of his potential future opponent with a shrug.

"I was surprised, but in any sport, it happens. People get hurt all the time. You have to expect that sometimes," Velasquez told Cagewriter.

It's a predicament that Velasquez understands. Still rehabbing from the shoulder injury that knocked him out of a planned bout with Junior dos Santos, Velasquez spoke with Cagewriter after teaching a seminar at Clay Guida's Gym in suburban Chicago.

Velasquez will fight the winner of the Shane Carwin, who stepped into fight Junior dos Santos at UFC 131. He said that he is open to fighting either fighter. He just wants a good opponent.

"No, to me, it's whoever the better fighter is. Now they're two guys with similar styles. With Brock, it was two different styles. Brock's a wrestler, Junior's a striker. Now both of these guys are heavy-handed, they hit hard, they're bigger guys. It's pretty much the same." {YSP:MORE}

Like Lesnar, Velasquez had to make the hard decision to not fight. He mentioned the UFC's new plan to give fighters health insurance, and how that will make the decision easier for fighters.

"We always go into fights where we're not 100 percent. But now, we're OK. We don't have to worry about. Before, we had to think about it, should I just tough it out, what should I do. It's a big weight off our shoulders."

Velasquez's shoulder has improved, and he's been cleared to start some training, but not full out. At the seminar, he displayed techniques and corrected attendees -- who ranged from wrestlers in grade school to fighters looking for a pro bout -- but stayed conservative with his movements.

As he heals, Velasquez has plenty of other things to keep him occupied. He is getting married at the end of the month, and he engaged in some friendly competition with fellow fighters while in Las Vegas for the Fighters Summit. Velasquez headed out to Exotics Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Phil Davis, Urijah Faber, Jake Ellenberger, Eddie Wineland, Matt Mitrione and his collegiate teammate Ryan Bader. The fighters raced around the track, and Velasquez's competitive side came out.

"I was just trying to beat everyone. Me and Ryan Bader were driving, and I actually lapped him. He was in a Ferrari," Velasquez said. He drove a Nissan GT-R. "It's not the car, it's how you drive it. He was pretty upset about that."

He admits that he is incredibly competitive, and competes with everyone in his life. That includes his fiancee.

"I'm competitive with everybody. It doesn't matter. I'm competitive with everybody. With my fiancee, everybody. Everything. Every little game. I hate to lose."

That's not a bad trait for a UFC champion to have.

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