No one denies the circumstances surrounding the UFC on Fox 1 headliner. Then-champion Cain Velasquez came into his first UFC heavyweight title defense against challenger Junior dos Santos on the heels of the stunning win over Brock Lesnar just a little over a year prior, but in addition to the ring rust resulting from the time he spent rehabilitating a torn rotator cuff, he also battled a torn ACL in the days leading to the fight.

So as he prepares to enter UFC 155 next weekend as the challenger to dos Santos’ throne, his motivations speak for themselves, as do those of dos Santos.

Taking time to speak to members of the press in a media conference call, both champion and challenger spoke on a number of topics. Predominantly above all other topics stood the discussions surrounding the first encounter between both heavyweights, specifically the health of both men. Naturally, Velasquez stated his main focus for this fight, though his focus surely goes without saying for anyone following the AKA product’s career.

“Being 100 percent, just staying in the gym and sparring and preparing myself,” Velasquez said.

Dos Santos spoke of a similar focus and revealed that while he kept it under wraps, he also risked pulling out of UFC on Fox 1 himself. Sure, all 64 seconds of the fight will show dos Santos taking some heavy kicks in the first minute, but the reigning champ, to his credit, fought through an injury of his own before finding his opening to land his kill-shot.

“For sure, Cain Velasquez had an injury but I had an injury at that time too,” dos Santos said, referring to a torn meniscus he suffered less than two weeks before his fight with Velasquez.

Despite the injury, however, dos Santos found the opening he wanted and landed his right hand behind the ear of Velasquez, disrupting his equilibrium and eventually forcing him to succumb to further punishment before dos Santos officially heard his name announced as the new UFC heavyweight champion.

Over a year later, both men know what to expect from the other. Velasquez knows dos Santos’ game as well as dos Santos knows Velasquez’s game, and neither man will aim to relent come fight time, regardless of whether the other man likes it or not.

“I’ve just got to fight my style of fight which means a lot of pressure and a lot of offense,” Velasquez said. “Now that I’m not champion, it’s the only thing that’s on my mind, to go in there and win this fight.”

Dos Santos, whose pre-fight class found a fan in the “clean athlete” Velasquez, echoed that mindset, stating that regardless of where he fought or who he fought against, his faith and his unparalleled work ethic will help him get the better end of the rematch, which both men aim to make an enthralling thriller from beginning to end.

“I’m 100 percent now and ready to fight,” dos Santos said. “I’ve got no injuries and I’m feeling great…My motivation comes from my family, the opportunity and things I’m leaving now.”

As far as the first fight vs. the second fight goes, dos Santos can paint a pretty solid picture for fans wondering how the rematch may transpire next weekend.

“That [first] fight was a quick fight and this time for sure will be longer and the MMA fans are gonna like it.”

Photo: Cain Velasquez (left) who looks to avenge his only pro loss to Junior dos Santos (right) at UFC 155 (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.