It hasn't even been two weeks since Junior dos Santos blasted Shane Carwin at UFC 131 to earn number one heavyweight contender status. And he won't get the chance to challenge division champion Cain Velasquez until UFC 138 until five months from now.
But that hasn't stopped "Cigano" from starting to put together a gameplan for "Brown Pride" when the pair collide at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 19, 2011.
That's probably because he's now living his "dream" and can't get his "greatest challenge ever" off his mind.
He provides Tatame.com with a glimpse into his "aggressive" strategy that he is currently formulating in anticipation of fight night:
"Much aggressive, much aggressive. Velasquez is a guy who has great conditioning, so he’s a guy I want to go for the knockout or the submission. I can’t give him time or space to work on what he likes, the takedowns and doing the ground and pound game. I train Wrestling a lot, I like training takedown defenses, and I consider myself good while defending takedown attempts. So, that’s why I feel pretty much comfortable when the guys try to take me down, I feel comfortable, cool with it. Velasquez is much faster and effective on his game, more technical (Comparing to Carwin). Velasquez is the number one on the heavyweight division, and it’ll be my greatest challenge ever."
Indeed, despite his near finish of the "Engineer" in the first round via vicious ground and pound, dos Santos used a rather cautious gameplan to defeat the power puncher, utilizing long distance, speed and efficient combinations to coast to a lopsided unanimous decision win.
The Brazilian bomber intends to switch things up for the former wrestling standout from Arizona State University, who rarely backs down and never gets tired. Velasquez is a cardiovascular machine who never stops coming forward, whether he's hurt or not.
In nine professional fights, he's only gone the distance once (Cheick Kongo) and finished the rest via (technical) knockout. Finishing Velasquez is quite the goal, but considering that winning a decision over him might be next to impossible, and that he had trouble with the hard-hitting Kongo, perhaps it's the only way to topple him.
Do you think Cigano will be able to finish the champ? Or will Velasquez be able to impose his will?