Junior dos Santos isn't fazed by Cain Velasquez's wrestling. | Photo: Marcelo Alonso
Junior dos Santos has fought seven times in the UFC, and seven times, his hand has been raised.
Using superior boxing to batter his opponents, the heavy-handed Brazilian has bested the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Roy Nelson and, most recently, former UFC title contender Shane Carwin.
On Nov. 12, Dos Santos will attempt to do the same against UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in the main event of UFC on Fox 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Another competitor who has yet to taste defeat, Velasquez was a two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State before taking MMA's heavyweight division by storm.
Though it's no secret that Dos Santos' primary means of offense will likely come from a vertical base, the fighter says that he is prepared if and when the fight hits the floor.
“I love to fight standing, but I will be prepared for sure to fight on the ground, no matter where the fight goes,” said Dos Santos at Tuesday's UFC on Fox 1 press conference. “I am training everything now, and I’m learning wrestling very fast. Cain is a really good wrestler, but if he takes me down, I will be ready to use my [Brazilian jiu-jitsu].”
Holding his camp in Brazil with Team Nogueira, Dos Santos says that he preparing diligently for the biggest fight of his five-year pro career.
“I’m doing my camp in Brazil now. I just came [to California] for these promotions,” said Dos Santos. “I’m getting prepared very well for this fight. The whole team – the Nogueira brothers, Anderson Silva – are around me. They are helping me a lot. I’m in great shape, and everyday, I feel I’m learning more. I’m getting more skills to be better fighter.”
Though supporters of both men were vocal at Tuesday's press conference in Anaheim, Dos Santos was not fazed by the cheers for his opponent, instead pointing to the significance of the UFC's first bout on broadcast television.
“It's good to receive good energy from the fans, but it doesn't matter if people are rooting for me or not,” he said. “It matters that they are here cheering for this fight, for MMA.”
The 27-year-old now stands just over eight weeks away from a shot at becoming the new UFC heavyweight champion. Just three months ago, “Cigano” dominated Carwin, a former interim titleholder, dropping his foe in round one and nearly finishing the fight. However, Carwin was resilient, staving off a referee stoppage and forcing the Brazilian to fight through fatigue to earn his unanimous decision. To that end, Dos Santos believes he has learned much from his past Octagon experiences that will aid him when he locks horns with Velasquez in prime time on Fox.
“This last fight gave me a lot good experience, for sure. Everything [has happened] to make me strong for this fight now,” said the challenger. “I am really, really excited to be fighting for the title against Cain. He's an undefeated guy and a great champion. And for sure, I’m more excited to be on free TV for all the [fans] to watch me. It motivates me to bring my best inside the Octagon.”