Former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, who is coming off a one-sided unanimous decision victory over Blagoy Ivanov last Saturday night, has revealed he’s frustrated by the lack of fights he’s had over the last few years inside the Octagon due to a combination of injuries and -- as dos Santos puts it -- fighters that don’t want to face him.
The 34 year-old has only had one fight a year since his trilogy fight with Cain Velasquez back in 2013, so when UFC matchmakers offered him the fairly unknown prospect in Ivanov at UFC Boise, the Brazilian immediately accepted the fight. The former champion was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and said that unlike other fighters who are trying to protect their rankings in the division, his focus is to keep improving and take any opponent that is offered to him.
“I wasn’t thinking about (Ivanov not being well-known),” dos Santos said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “When they offered me Blagoy, I said yes right away. Because I’ve been suffering with having opponents. Because some of the guys, they don’t want to fight me. Or some of the guys, they want to fight for the title, they want to fight for something else. They’re picking opponents. I don’t do that.
“When they offered me Blagoy, I didn’t think, ‘This guy is not known, this guy is not in the rankings right now so I’m not gonna fight him. I didn’t think about that. I just accepted the fight. Because it doesn’t really matter. You have to fight. In the UFC, you have to fight and show you’re there. You’re there to make the show happen.”
It was no surprise to hear then that when dos Santos found out former title challenger Francis Ngannou recently called him out, it was music to the Brazilian’s ears and he said he’ll be signing the contract if UFC matchmakers officially offer it to him.
“Well, like I said, I don’t pick opponents. I think it would be a much more interesting fight to happen when it should’ve happened -- like months ago. But like I said, I want to fight often. If Francis Ngannou is the opponent, let’s go. Let’s make it happen. Actually, I think people would love to see that. So yeah, if the UFC calls me and they want to make this fight, let’s go.”