UFC heavyweight Junior dos Santos has spent seven months training at Florida’s American Top Team. Now, the Brazilian big man has called for some assistance from back home.
Luiz Dorea, dos Santos’ mentor and first trainer, will this week travel to Coconut Creek, Fla., to assist the former champion in final preparations for his April 10 bout against Ben Rothwell. Dorea recently spoke with Sherdog.com about returning to help his pupil.
“I’ll [fly] to Florida on March 10 to help ‘Cigano’ keep his hands sharp, something I’m really excited about and happy to do,” said Dorea, who has not worked with dos Santos since his second loss to Cain Velasquez in October 2013.
“I understood his decision to improve his jiu-jitsu skills and spend time with master [Andre] Pederneiras at Nova Uniao, one of the most respected MMA teams in the world, and also when he moved to Florida to train with another MMA power, ATT. But he can never forget that the main technique that made him a UFC heavyweight champion was boxing, and we are here to help in that matter.”
Dorea explained the conditions under which dos Santos trained during his days in the Brazilian state of Bahia.
“For 10 years, he used to train boxing from Monday through Saturday in my academy, no matter if he had a fight or not,” Dorea said. “We have a couple of world boxing champions in there, and he used to train with all of them in equal conditions. Unlike many people thought, he also trained a lot of jiu-jitsu and MMA in Salvador with master Yuri Carlton. People forget, but he surprised Shane Carwin with two throws and used his boxing movement really well to give a hard time to most opponents. Except for Velasquez, no wrestler could take down [dos Santos].
“After [fighting] Overeem, Cigano told me he was having a hard time finding the distance, and that’s what we will work on with him.”
Speed and movement will be the most crucial part of this camp for dos Santos, the trainer told Sherdog.
“His movement is above average for a heavyweight. We’ll encourage his ability with lots of drills, and I can guarantee you will see a different Cigano,” Dorea remarked. “Rothwell deserves all the respect. He’s a tough and complete fighter, but in that fight, you will see Cigano going back to his origins and getting a clear win. He has such a strong mind. He works so hard. With the right training, I bet soon he’ll be fighting for the heavyweight title once again. It’s just a matter of time.”
Dorea also assisted in training Anderson Silva as “The Spider” prepared for his Feb. 27 encounter with Michael Bisping. The coach said that Silva was happy and motivated during camp but also revealed a curious moment which occurred in Silva’s corner between the first and second rounds of the fight.
“He came to me and said, ‘Master, my leg cracked,’” said Dorea, referencing Silva’s surgically repaired left fibula and tibia. “I told him everything was fine, but when I looked at his ‘broken leg,’ it really was swollen. That’s what got the corner worried at that point.
“It was a difficult situation. We had to motivate him, but somehow we didn’t know whether it was a psychological or real injury. Without kicking, Anderson was having a hard time finding the right distance, but his mind is so strong that he was able to not show what was happening.”
After the fight, according to Dorea, Silva continued to feel sharp pain in his left shin.
“He was sure that the metal plate had moved and was out of place... but in the hospital, the doctor said that both the plate and screw were normal,” said Dorea, who believes Silva will be back in the cage soon. “Of course, Anderson got really upset with the decision, but the most important thing is that, the following day, he was motivated to come back as soon as possible.”