Cain Velasquez signs 'lucrative' deal with WWE and retires from UFC competition, a report says


After dipping his toes in the waters of pro wrestling, Cain Velasquez has now fully jumped in by signing a multiyear deal with WWE, according to a report from ESPN. The report confirms word last week from MMAjunkie's Mike Bohn that Velasquez had removed himself from the UFC's USADA drug testing pool, effectively ending his MMA career with the promotion. 

Velasquez made his WWE debut on the Oct. 4 debut of SmackDown on Fox by taking down Lesnar, landing some ground-and-pound and sending the WWE champion. Velasquez, a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, and Lesnar have history dating back to October 2010 when then-UFC champ Lesnar was dominated by Velasquez.

Subscribe to our wrestling podcast -- State of Combat with Brian Campbell -- and listen to our analysis of Velasquez's transition into the WWE universe in the embed below. 

Lesnar and Velasquez are set to face off in a match at WWE's Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Oct. 31. Both men were in attendance for a press conference on Friday where the match was made official, but Velasquez's contract status was not discussed during the proceedings which did not include questions from the media.

Velasquez had competed in Mexico's AAA promotion on two separate occasions this year, impressing fans and wrestlers alike with his athleticism and ability to quickly pick up the complicated ways of the ring. He'd reportedly been in contact recently with upstart All Elite Wrestling as well as WWE with a full-time transition to pro wrestling clearly in his future.

"He's definitely somebody I am keeping an eye on," AEW executive vice president and superstar Cody Rhodes said during a recent media call. "Cain was one of those athletes ... not even an athlete thing, it's almost a strange natural ability to pick up our industry. Man, he picked it up so, so quick and he wasn't doing mixed martial arts Cain Velasquez. He was trying to do true lucha, and he had worked with Psycho Clown … I was blown away by Cain Velasquez."

The MMA career of Velasquez will come to an end with two heavyweight title reigns, a 14-3 record and 10 knockouts in the Octagon. Injuries, unfortunately, kept Velasquez out of competition for significant amounts of time. He has only fought once since 2016, a 26-second knockout loss against Francis Ngannou back in February.

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