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No hard feelings! Ex-coach wants Junior dos Santos to return to Brazil, recapture former glory

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos no longer trains under original mentor Luiz Dorea, having recently packed his bags to relocate to the famed American Top Team (ATT) camp in Coconut Creek, Florida.

The results were disastrous.

"Cigano" was popped and dropped in the second round of his Alistair Overeem fight at UFC on FOX 17 (watch it), in a performance that was a far cry from the days when Dos Santos ruled the 265-pound roost with heavy hands and an iron jaw.

Perhaps it was just cage rust (because of this), or maybe it was something much worse.

As for Dorea, the longtime trainer insists the second-round technical knockout loss was a poor representation of his former pupil's true fighting ability, and recently told that his door is -- and always will be -- open for a potential return.

His words:

"Two years ago he was considered the best boxer in MMA. I created a methodology of training and adapted his boxing to MMA in order for him to keep his essence. That´s how he got the UFC belt just five years into his career. Salvador is where he learned everything, where he was made into a world champion, but I have to understand he is a young fighter and wanted to get new knowledge. The doors here will always be open to him. Cigano is like a son and that confidence we have is something very important. I hope he returns so we can recapture what he does the best and keep working to make his dream of regaining the title come true."

Who says you can't go home again?

Prior to last weekend's misstep, the only fighter to ever beat Dos Santos (17-4) under the UFC banner was Cain Velasquez. Though "Cigano" dropped to No. 4 in the rankings, he does hold a win over reigning champion Fabricio Werdum, and Overeem is currently a free agent.

He may not be that far away from another title shot, depending on how things shake out. As far as a return to Brazil?

That remains to be seen.