We have witnessed this year what is about to be the rise of 2 great fighters, Jose Aldo and Cain Velasquez. Both fighters have climbed the ladder in their respective weight classes for a shot at the title, Aldo won his belt a year ago when he defeated Mike Brown in decisive fashion in the second round. Aldo then went on to dominate Urijah Faber this year, in a 5 round title fight, forcing the California Kid to drop to the bantamweight division. After that Aldo reached superstar status and has defended his belt successfully against a very dangerous Manny Gamburyan, in Aldo’s latest outing for the WEC.
Cain Velasquez gained notoriety last year when defeated UFC veteran Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision, then went on to beat IFL veteran Ben Rothwell via TKO just 58 seconds into the second round. He finally caught everyone’s attention when he knocked out former UFC and Pride Heavyweight champion, and MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira in the very first round. Just 8 months later he faced Brock Lesnar for the Heavyweight title, the biggest fight of his career and arguably his toughest test to date.
It turned out to be a short night for Lesnar as it took Velasquez only 4 minutes to destroy Brock and win the fight by way of TKO, and solidify Cain in the history books of combat sports, as this was the first time a Mexican – American had become a Heavyweight Champion.
Now Cain and Aldo share something in common along with other great champions such as Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, among others. The thing they all have in common is that they had a rough childhood, they all grew up without much money, and in some cases had to work through their childhood to help support their families financially
You can see the effects of the strikes that life itself has delivered to these athletes. And in their mentality you will see that, when they get hit or cornered in the ring/cage, they don’t let up and they will hit back and never give up.
Fedor stated in the past that:
“Years ago we hardly had anything to eat, now I earn more money and I see every opponent as a man that tries to put me back to that poorer period, THAT MAN HAS TO BE ELIMINATED”…
Is this the fuel that feeds the fire inside them?
Back in Brazil, Jose Aldo would have showed up to the gym where he trained and his trainers would have asked him if he had eaten anything that day or the day before, that is how poor he was. Cain had to work in the fields picking up lettuces to help his family. He has that attitude of never giving up and a relentless work ethic that his father embraced upon him at a young age, when he was trying to get across the border from Mexico into the USA for a chance of a better life for his family. Wanderlei Silva used to help his Mother in their family owned bar while she was doing the domestic chores. Anderson Silva was raised by his uncle because his parents could not take care of him as a child.
From all these things that were against them they were able to learn from it and made something good out of it, they went from being at the bottom to fulfilling their dreams and to be on top of the world. Now that they are famous, they have used that fire. They have been able to achieve everything they had ever dreamed or wished for.
They are a true example of what a champion needs to be, someone that has never been given anything for free or taken anything for granted, but someone that has fought for everything they have, their poor backgrounds keep them in perspective and will not let them forget where they came from or how hard they’ve worked to elevate themselves to where they are now.
Life itself has taught them to work hard, to use all the anger inside to feed the fire that drives them through their opponents, and that every time they fall they need to stand up back again and keep fighting….