With his fast first round knockout win of former undefeated champion Cain Velasquez at the inaugural UFC on Fox 1 show on Nov. 12, 2011, Junior dos Santos showed the reason he is considered by many to be the best heavyweight striker in mixed martial arts (MMA) today.
Throughout his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career, dos Santos has preferred the stand up game because the results thus far are nothing short of impressive. Of his eight victories with the promotion, five of them have come via (technical) knockout.
Now the proud new owner of a gold shiny world championship belt, "Cigano" has another gold award set in his sights: an Olympic medal.
Speaking to Tatame.com, the new UFC heavyweight champion hints at the possibility of making a run at a medal in boxing at the upcoming Olympic games in 2016, which are slated to take place right in his own backyard.
Check it out:
"My trainings begin and end with Boxing. There're dynamics and strategies I'm already used to. But I'll test myself, it's inevitable. Who knows I get an Olympic medal. Everything's possible."
Luiz Carlos Dorea, Junior's head trainer, believes he has a great chance to shine in the Olympics.
"The adaptations from Boxing to MMA are complexes. You gotta be careful about blocking the kicks and takedowns. If he's already above average combining all those things, imagine when he fights traditional Boxing. The chances he'll shine are huge, both on professional and Olympic Boxing."
If "Cigano" hopes to make a run at the Olympics, he would likely have to receive the blessing of his current employer, Zuffa/UFC, which have been notorious for not allowing fighters to participate in any other combat sport while under contract.
In the past, high profile fighters such as Alistair Overeem had been hesitant to sign with the promotion because of its strict "exclusivity," which prevented him from participating in K-1 kickboxing events. Of course, when it pursued Fedor Emelianenko, his Sambo tournaments were an early deal breaker, too.
Then again, it's more than four years from now -- much can happen between then and now. For now, dos Santos, 27, has plenty of work ahead of him in the UFC's heavyweight division.
In fact, his next fight could very well be against another heavyweight who is considered to have some of the best striking in the game, the previously mentioned Overeem. "Demolition Man," the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix champion, is set to take on Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 30, 2011. The winner will get first crack at "Cigano's" heavyweight strap.
A match up between Dos Santos and Overeem could definitely prove just who indeed has the best striking in the UFC's heavyweight division.
Does "Cigano" have the chops to hang with Olympic caliber boxers? Or would the mixed martial artist be biting off a little bit more than he can chew?