Mexico may have had their best sporting year ever.
The big year started when Mexico shocked the world and won Olympic gold in soccer by beating the powerhouse known as Brazil. That could have been good enough as Mexicans across the globe celebrated and Mexico City was in bedlam as waving flags and jubilant countrymen spilled into the streets. It wouldn't be the last time that Brazil would walk in a favorite and walk out empty handed.
Juan Manuel Marquez shocked the world earlier this month with his stunning 6th round knockout of Manny Pacquiao. Yet another powerhouse taken down by a Mexican. Another proud celebration as Mexican pride was at a euphoric high. Honestly, nobody was sure that it could get any better. But it did and you can thank Cain Velasquez for ending 2012 with an emphatic boom. The Mexican who has "Brown Pride" tattooed across his chest handed a sound thumping to Junior Dos Santos to reclaim the heavyweight title at UFC 155. It was yet another upset of a Brazilian powerhouse as Velasquez redeemed himself after being knocked out in the first round last year. So not only was the victory sweet for Mexico, it was even sweeter for Velasquez.
For Velasquez, the writing was on the wall for him to get back his prized possession. Not only had Mexico won in the Olympics and Marquez upended Pacquiao, but Velasquez' other favorites were winning as well.
"The first time I won the title the San Francisco Giants won the World Series," Velasquez said at the post fight presser with his title perched in front of him. "The Giants won it again this year. Arizona State won their bowl game and Juan Manuel Marquez won. All of the people and teams I was going for won so I knew it was my time."
The feeling was in the air when Mexico's Erik Perez entered the cage earlier in the night wearing a Luchador mask as he routed Byron Bloodworth with a first round TKO. Mexican pride was pulsating through the air. By the time the main event hit, a crowd who split their support between dos Santos and Velasquez created a rowdy atmosphere that rivals any previous UFC main event. But after Velasquez connected with a vicious right hand that dropped the Brazilian in the first round, the pendulum swung in Velasquez' direction and remained there for the rest of the night. Once it was announced that Velasquez had won, the celebration spilled into the MGM Grand Garden casino floor as "Mexico!" chants echoed through the casino.
Velasquez could hear them and the usually stoic heavyweight showed some emotion. And the party didn't stop there as Velasquez celebrated at his after party at Pure nightclub. At around 6 in the morning PST, Cain tweeted his appreciation to his fans.
"Thank you to all who support me. You gave me strength in the fight."
It has indeed been a big year for Mexico and Velasquez will ring in 2013 knowing he made his country proud.