It’s not everyday you get to meet one of the greatest professional fighters in the world and have him teach you how to throw a proper punch, but we got to do just that last week. The fighter was Cain Velasquez. He is the number one UFC Heavyweight of the world.
Velasquez is on a multi-city tour as an ambassador for the House of Marnier Lapostolle’s cognac: GM Titanium– a bold, flavorful, five-spice cognac with orange essence, which as we found last week, is a tasty spirit perfect for cocktails for the fall’s holidays and get-togethers. It contains no sugar. GM Titanium celebrated its continued partnership with Velasquez and his much-anticipated fight in Mexico City this coming November against Fabricio Werdum, with a party at his gym and training-camp center- the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose. Even if you are not one of the thousands of MMA-obsessed San Joseans (San Jose is one of the select meccas for Mixed Martial Arts in the United States), chances are you have heard Cain Velasquez’s name or seen a picture of his face.
UFC experts, such as Joe Rogan, point out that Velasquez would have excelled at any sport. However, Velasquez chose to learn MMA and decided that San Jose was the place that had the resources to turn him into a champion. Velasquez attended college in Arizona and excelled as wrestler there. “After college, I just threw my things in the car, and drove to San Jose,” he told us matter of factly. “I heard this was the place to learn MMA.”
And just like that Velasquez arrived in San Jose and resolved to be the best. He executes on his dreams as ruthlessly and exactingly as he beats and dominates his opponents. No one can deny that this man’s athleticism is nothing short of incredible- he is able to do what superb athletes across all sports do- make the very difficult, look extremely easy. It is no wonder GM Titanium calls Velasquez a true titan- and have named the spirit after Velasquez’s titan nature and personality.
Dozens of other media professionals and fans nervously waited in AKA‘s lobby area, feeling the electricity in the air and got ready to take photos and speak with Velasquez. Our nerves were high. Then we slipped off your shoes, stepped into the humid octagon, and looked Cain Velasquez in the eye.
Velasquez is gracious and speaks softly. When he talks about his job he is matter-of-fact, supremely confident, and fierce. We asked what he thinks about during a stare down. He answers sternly. “How I am going to destroy them.” But Velasquez is also known for being supremely “normal.” He has been classy in his public life and is a loving family man. When we asked about his favorite foods at local taquerias or if he likes micheladas (when he is not training) or if he wants to know where the best micheladas are, he smiles, laughs and enthusiastically answers. (Tacos, he enjoys micheladas, and yes we told him our favorite spot). When asked if he feels he represents Mexico or the United States in his next fight in Mexico City, he answers that he feels a tie to both. Let’s not forget that Velasquez is the first Latino to win the world heavyweight title in any major combat sport. He single handedly has proved that Mexicans can win across combat sports, not just boxing.
Velasquez has proven himself to be practically unbeatable in the octagon. His stamina, skill-level, and ability to execute (often against legendary champions and men bigger than him) has made him a hometown hero here in San Jose, a hero for Mexican Americans and Mexicans alike, and a legend-in the making around the world for MMA. He is swift and springy like a lightweight, but has the ferociousness and power to inflict gruesome damage like a heavyweight.
Not only did the media and fans get to interview and briefly train with Velasquez, but we were able to drink Cain Velasquez’s favorite GM Titanium cocktail. Not bad for a Tuesday night!
Beautiful GM Titanium cocktail servers, who were outfitted in tight, silver cocktail dresses, and bejeweled headdresses, matching GM Titanium’s sleek, modern, silver bottle- smiled and served the guests, who waited for their “training” session with Velasquez. The GM Titanium cocktails, named the “The Rebel” are Cain Velasquez’s favorite: GM Titanium, pineapple juice, and Angostura bitters. They had a tropical citrus flavor and you could taste different spices. We found out that the cognac’s added spices include Calamansi citrus, black pepper, anise, fennel, clove, cinnamon.
It’s not surprising that the spirits brand that brought us Grand Marnier, chose Velasquez as their ambassador. Vasquez always faces the toughest men. Even when he is on top of the mountain, he still fights like he has got something more to prove. His first UFC title came by knocking out Brock Lesnar, a giant of a man. He lost his next fight, to Junior dos Santos fighting while injured. Velasquez would then later beat him twice later on, once by knockout. He earned back his championship belt tenaciously. In between, he knocked out Antonio Silva twice.
The people Velasquez has faced aren’t just the best in the division, they are some of the best of all time. Velasquez has knocked out all of them. He does not duck the best. He’s in his prime, in a time when he has a chance to take on some of the greatest MMA fighters that have ever lived, and he’s doing exactly that. GM Titanium states that Velasquez represents its audacious and ambitious spirit and that he channels the same philosophy of boldness that GM Titanium was founded upon.
How often do we get to say that a world champion comes from San Jose, is a phenomenon in his sport, and consistently shows graciousness and respect for the people around him. When a “best in the world” turns out to be a cool person, that’s an awesome thing. That Cain (we feel ok about calling him by his first name now) instructed us personally on how to a punch while protecting our face, and showed us the correct fighting stance, is just icing on the (fitness appropriate, titan-in-the-making) cake. We wish Cain much luck in Mexico. The San Jose community and the Content team stands behind him.
Written by Anna Bagirov
Images by Ajay Fay
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GMTitanium, @GMTitanium