The last two times Junior dos Santos fought for the UFC heavyweight championship, he came up short. He lost his crown to Cain Velasquez in their second bout and then was knocked out by the American in their rubber match. Since then, he had only gone 1-1 and the MMA world largely cast him aside.
After his performance in the main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night event in Zagreb, Croatia, the former world champ has pumped some air into the lungs of his career and he finds himself right back in the thick of things regarding the promotion’s title picture. After dismantling Ben Rothwell over five rounds, dos Santos said that everything is coming back together and one day he’ll have that gold back around his waist.
“We are putting everything in the right place and that’s why I’m going to be champion again,” the Brazilian told the assembled media at the post-fight press conference. “I just want to fight. I know it’s going to happen at some point.”
If dos Santos is achieve what he feels is his destiny, he’ll have to turn in a few more magnificent performances like the one he had against the Wisconsinite. Dos Santos is one of the better boxers in all of MMA and he took the taller, larger Rothwell apart from the outside. Dos Santos cracked his foe with a seemingly endless supply of jabs to the body and head, a game plan that kept the American out of a rhythm throughout the duel, which pleased “Cigano.”
“I think everything went well,” dos Santos stated. “Ben Rothwell is a beast. He walks forward all the time, putting some pressure, so I had to move a lot. It’s always good to go to the body, especially against a big guy like that.”
Even with his wonderful performance, dos Santos admitted that there is still quite a bit on which he needs to work.
“I know I have to improve all of my skills,” he remarked. “I can’t go away from boxing. I have to know jiu-jitsu and wrestling, but I’m a boxing guy. I like to move.”
Dos Santos hinted that he would love to fight on the UFC 198 card in Curitiba, Brazil, though that seems unlikely at the moment. However, he said he’ll be back in the gym in about 10 days and that he’ll be ready to fight anyone.