Photo by Jason Redmond via AP
UFC heavyweight kingpin Junior dos Santos is in the midst of a run unlike any other fighter in the history of the weight class. With an undefeated record in the UFC and the promotion's belt strapped around his waist, "Cigano" is beginning to shift his attention to the record books.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos isn't shy when it comes to setting lofty goals for himself.
In the span of four years and nine UFC fights, "Cigano" has gone from unknown Brazilian prospect to the most feared man in the heavyweight division, perhaps even the entire sport.
It is the ultimate goal of every mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter to become champion of the world. Having already accomplished that feat at the tender age of 28, dos Santos is beginning to turn his attention toward the record books.
"My dream was to become champion, the heavyweight champion, and now my dream to break records," dos Santos said in a UFC 155 pre-fight interview with the UFC. "I want to break all the records that I can."
Dos Santos is currently undefeated under the UFC banner (9-0) and has finished all but two of his opponents along the way. He currently holds the third longest active win streak in the organization behind Anderson Silva (17) and Georges St. Pierre (10).
One record the boxing specialist is near is the most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history. Three men (Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia and Brock Lesnar) in the history of the heavyweight division have successfully defended the strap on two occasions.
However, for all three of those former champions, the third time wasn't a charm.
Dos Santos will have the chance to join the elite company of Couture, Sylvia and Lesnar by defending the title in his next fight, a rematch with Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas.
"Cain Velasquez, he presents a lot of challenges for me," dos Santos said of his future challenger. "His cardio is the best cardio of the heavyweight division, he got really good skills fighting in the stand up. I think the best is his wrestling skills and his ground-and-pound."
The bout will be a rematch of a Nov. 2011 meeting between the two where dos Santos knocked Velasquez out cold in a mere 64-seconds. Everyone expected the match up to be much more competitive, but dos Santos showed his tremendous finishing ability with a perfect placed overhand right.
With the rematch fast approaching, dos Santos envisions a tougher fight, but ultimately the same result.
"I really think I'm going to knock him out again," he said. "It's going to be a little longer, maybe the second or third round, but I think I'm going to knock him out again."
There's one thing about records in MMA -- they take time to break. Will dos Santos be able to go another 3-5 years without suffering a loss and catch up to Silva's record? Can he hold on the strap for roughly 500 more days and break Couture's record for the longest reign in heavyweight history? Only time will tell.
For now, dos Santos plans to continue training hard, improving his skills, knocking his opponents out and proving why he should be the most feared athlete in combat sports.
"The secret of good results is your preparation; you have to get prepared very well for all the situations that can happen in a fight," he said. "I love the opportunities that I'm having now, and I train hard every day to go there, you know, and finish my fights. Because, you know, I'm a heavyweight -- heavyweights finish fights. "
"This fight I think is going to prove I'm the baddest man on the planet."