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Cain Velasquez retires from MMA, signs 'lucrative' WWE deal


Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez picked the right time to try his hand at professional wrestling.

Months after making his in-ring debut, the 37-year-old has signed a "lucrative, multi-year" deal with WWE according to ESPN's Marc Raimondi's sources and has informed UFC that he is retiring, withdrawing from USADA's testing pool.

On Friday at a press conference in Las Vegas, it was announced that Velasquez will face WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at this month's Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. It's unclear whether the match is for Lesnar's title.

Velasquez himself hasn't officially announced the news as of this writing nor has UFC publicly acknowledged it.

Velasquez has wrestled twice thus far this year, once at AAA's TripleMania and again at their New York Uprising event. There was interest from New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling in signing Velasquez, but after he appeared in the show-closing segment of last Friday's SmackDown's debut on Fox, it signaled that a WWE deal was imminent.

Velasquez famously defeated Lesnar for the UFC heavyweight gold at UFC 121 in December 2010. After racking up a 13-1 record and two title reigns, injuries besieged the Mexican-American star and he fought just three more times (1-2) over a six year stretch. He last attempted a comeback in February, but was defeated by Francis Ngannou in just 26 seconds.