Former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez has officially retired from mixed-martial arts, after signing a multiple year deal with World Wrestling Entertainment. The California native appeared at a WWE press conference at the T-Mobile Arena this evening alongside former title opponent Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman and lineal heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury. NCAA Division I All-American wrestler Velasquez made his television debut for the WWE last Friday, appearing on a segment with Lesnar at the close of the organization’s Smackdown show.
Velasquez successfully defeated Lesnar for the UFC heavyweight championship at UFC 121 in 2011, and according to ESPN staff writer Marc Raimondi, Velasquez will make his professional wrestling debut against former foe Lesnar for the WWE championship at the lucrative WWE Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia on October 31st.
Velasquez has informed the UFC of his withdrawal from the USADA testing pool, and if he decides to make a sudden ‘u-turn’ on his retirement, must return to the testing-pool for a period of six months, unless granted an exemption by the promotion. The 37-year-old has also been officially removed from the UFC heavyweight rankings.
Cain Velasquez was limited to just two Octagon appearances in four years, losing via first round knockout to perennial contender Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou in February this year.