Cain Velasquez’s return from a 30-plus month layoff didn’t go as he or anyone anticipated.

The legendary heavyweight got knocked out by Francis Ngannou just 26 seconds into their UFC Fight Night bout in Phoneix on Sunday. At first glance, it appeared as if Velasquez simply succumbed to Ngannou’s early onslaught, but further review shows the 36-year-old rolled over after his knee gave out.

Take a look:


(You can click here to watch a video of Velasquez’s knee buckling.)

Velasquez, as you might expect, was devastated after the disappointing loss.

“I just can’t believe that happened,” Velasquez said after the fight, via MMAFighting. “Having a great camp coming in, truly, everything I said, how strongly I felt, that was all true. Coming in I felt great out there, relaxed, and then taking that one step I did with my left foot. I just felt something pop and then when I tried to take another step it just gave out on me. My knee gave out on me, I can’t even believe that happened.

“Going in 100 percent healthy. 100 percent ready and just to have this freak accident, I can’t even believe it. It’s just hard. That’s sports, that’s what we do. That’s what happens sometimes. It’s just really frustrating because the fire in me is strong, stronger than ever. In camp, great camp, great camp. And then this happens.”

Velasquez speculated the injury might have occurred to his Meniscus or MCL. There has been no official diagnosis, though.

Some have speculated that Sunday’s fight could have been Velasquez’s last. But the former heavyweight champion doesn’t sound ready to leave the octagon.

“The fire in me is strong again still,” he said. “I guess I’ve got a lot to prove and I’m very capable of doing that.”

Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images