Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez made a shocking appearance on WWE’s “Smackdown” on Friday night.
The 37-year-old fighter closed out the show by pummeling Brock Lesnar — his former rival in the Octagon — alongside longtime WWE star Rey Mysterio.
“I’m here because Brock knows what he did,” Velasquez said after the match. “It wasn’t right and I saw it, so I’m here to get some payback.”
Velasquez had recently been testing the waters in professional wrestling and had worked out at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. He has also wrestled for the Mexican wrestling promotion AAA twice in recent months.
According to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Velasquez is in deep negotiations with Vince McMahon’s company, but a deal hasn’t been reached.
Velasquez is one of the most decorated and popular fighters in UFC history. He knocked out Lesnar in 2010 to win his first heavyweight championship and improve to 9-0 with the company. Velasquez would go on to finish 14-3, with his most recent bout in February against Francis Ngannou.
Velasquez’s debut sets up a showdown with Lesnar, who recaptured the WWE championship moments earlier. During his tenure with WWE, Lesnar has been booked as arguably the most feared and powerful figure in the company. Velasquez provides Lesnar with a foil who has legitimate credentials to take down the former UFC champion and may lead to him working as an underdog.
While Velasquez isn’t officially retired from MMA, he told ESPN that professional wrestling will be his main focus moving forward.
"This is definitely my focus," Velasquez said. "My family is into it, they love it. They're super excited. I haven't seen them excited over something like this in a while. It's cool."
Should he agree to a deal, Velasquez would join Ronda Rousey, Matt Riddle and Shayna Baszler as former UFC stars under WWE contract.
Velasquez wasn’t the only combat sports champion to get involved in the action on Friday night. Following a tag-team match, lineal heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury was involved in a confrontation with Braun Strowman. WWE has teased an appearance by Fury on “Raw” this coming Monday.
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