Tonight (Sat., Nov. 12, 2011), Junior dos Santos will stand across the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) cage from heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, as the two prepare to do battle for the belt inside the Honda Center at UFC on FOX in Anaheim, Calif., airing on network television at 9 p.m. ET.
The crowd will roar as the voice of the Octagon, Bruce Buffer, introduces the fighters in his patented, enthusiastic manner.
Undoubtedly, Buffer will refer to dos Santos by the nickname that fans have come to know him by, "Cigano." The moniker has become part of his identity, but what is its origin?
In an interview with Combate, dos Santos gave the down-low on where the nickname came from:
"When I had long hair, I used to tie it back. So the guys would say I would look like the 'gypsy.' I used to hate that, but the less you like a nickname, the more it sticks. Sure enough, that's what happened."
The term "Gypsy" is an allusion to a character named "Igor," from the popular 90's telenovela "Explode Coração." The character was played by Brazilian actor Ricardo Macchi. The plot of the show centered around the love triangle formed by the protagonists and addressed the culture of the gypsies in Brazil.
Ironically enough, Macchi actually spent some time studying boxing and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) purple belt. He stopped training in 1993 when his soap opera career began to take off.
It's a silly nickname. Not quite what you'd expect for a man who essentially knocks people out for a living.
The fact that dos Santos is still willing to put up with the good-natured ribbing just goes to show how much of a gentle giant he is.
But, is he too nice? Will he be able to harness his inner telenovela "villain" to take down the current unbeaten heavyweight champion?
Weigh in, Maniacs!