Cain Velasquez returns to UFC as cornerman for Gabriel Benitez, next major court hearing scheduled

Ex-UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will return to his old stomping grounds on Saturday when he serves as a coach and cornerman for Gabriel Benitez.

Velasquez, who is currently out on bail after being charged with attempted murder, was previously given permission to corner Usman Nurmagomedov for his fight at a Bellator event in California this past October. Now he’ll fall under direction from the Nevada Athletic Commission to corner Benitez for his fight against Jim Miller at UFC Vegas 84.

UFC officials confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Tuesday following an initial report from Claro Sports.

After spending eight months in jail, Velasquez was granted bail back in November 2022 while awaiting trial on attempted murder charges. The retired fighter was then granted permission by the courts to travel for work, including appearances at professional wrestling events as well as coaching fighters like Nurmagomedov and Benitez.

Velasquez works with numerous fighters training out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, which was also where he trained during his UFC career.

Velasquez was initially arrested on Feb. 28, 2022, after he allegedly engaged in a high-speed chase while firing several rounds from a handgun aimed at a car carrying Harry Goularte. Goularte faces separate charges for allegedly sexually molesting the fighter’s son at a daycare owned by Goularte’s mother. Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender, was wounded by a bullet during the altercation and suffered non-life threatening injuries as a result.

Afterward, Velasquez was arrested without incident and charged with numerous felonies, including premeditated, attempted murder.

Numerous hearings have been held over the past year to set a trial date, but each time the proceedings have been pushed back. This past September, Judge Daniel Nishigaya granted another extension to Velasquez’s attorney but stated that a trial date should be set for some time in January.

Ultimately that date was pushed back yet again, with a new trial setting date now scheduled for Feb. 14.

If convicted on all charges, Velasquez faces the potential of life in prison.

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