Junior dos Santos wants to fight Fabricio Werdum at the end of the year. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
After Fabricio Werdum’s impressive win over Cain Velasquez at UFC 188, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos began to dream of a title shot again.
"That fight between Werdum and Velasquez brought a new life to the division. It was particularly good to me because every time I talked about a fourth fight against Velasquez, people start to question that I didn’t deserve to face him again,” dos Santos told Sherdog.com following the UFC 188 headliner. “Once I was the No. 1 in the rankings, I felt I was fighting more against politics and that was pretty demoralizing.”
“Cigano” remains the only opponent to knock out Werdum in his 25-fight career, as he stopped the recently-crowned champion inside of a round in his promotional debut at UFC 90. When Werdum was handed a potential 180-day medical suspension after his win over Velasquez, dos Santos thought a rematch with “Vai Cavalo” was a distinct possibility. However, UFC President Dana White said during a live chat with fans last week that dos Santos was injured, so either Andrei Arlovski or Stipe Miocic would be next in line to face Werdum.
"I want to clarify that I´m very well, and I´ll be in perfect condition to face Werdum at the end of the year," dos Santos said.
The former champion then explained the nature of the injury White referenced.
"Actually I was injured before the fight against Miocic [at UFC on Fox 13]. I had a strain in the [anterior cruciate ligament], and ended up aggravating it during the fight when the ligament totally tore. I did a surgery with Dr. Moises Cohen in Sao Paulo and the procedure was perfect,” dos Santos said. “He said I needed between six to eight months to completely recover. On July 14 it will be six months, and I hope he can release me to train at 100 percent.
"I´m already doing some boxing and strength training,” he continued. “As the doctor asked, I´m just avoiding muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. [Anything] that rotates the knee is a movement I can´t do right now. I´m following every step doctor told me and feeling really well. I´m expecting Dr. Cohen to allow me to train everything on July 14. My intention was to fight at the end of the year, and everything is going in a perfect way. Werdum was suspended for 180 days; that´s the exactly time I need to completely recover from my surgery, train hard and get 100 percent in shape to face him."
The Brazilian was impressed with the improvement Werdum demonstrated at UFC 188, but he also pointed out that Velasquez was a different fighter than he was in three bouts with dos Santos.
"Werdum was really impressive,” dos Santos said. “He brought an amazing strategy for the fight and conquered a great opponent, but I also [was surprised] how tired was Velasquez in the first round, something not normal for him.”
At the end of the day, all “Cigano” wants is another chance to vie for heavyweight gold.
"I really hope UFC gives me the chance to fight for the belt again, especially against Werdum, who was my first great victory in the [promotion]. My intention is to have that rematch and regain my belt. I´ll be world champion again before the end of the year. I´m a very positive person, and I believe a lot in that fight. Now I Just have to work hard and return at 100 percent.”