clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC Fight Night 86: Junior dos Santos says win over Ben Rothwell is ticket back into title contention

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After competing a whopping two times over the same amount of years, former UFC Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is eager to get back on his high horse and move back into title contention.

"JDS" was previously seen getting dismantled by ex-Strikeforce contender and current free agent Alistair Overeem back at UFC on FOX 17 last December. It was quite shocking to most, including the Brazilian, who stars in back-to-back bouts with serious title implications when he meets the streaking Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 86 on April 10, 2016.

Dos Santos' headliner with "Big Ben" will be the first of three in 2016, according to the man himself, who spoke with Portal do Vale Tudo (via Bloody Elbow):

"After my last fight, I told Joe Silva I wanted to fight again soon and I was glad they were able to get me a fight quickly. I think it's important to fight more frequently so I can stay active. Rothwell is a very hard opponent, who is on a good win streak and has been imposing himself. He showed he can be very effective, especially in his last fight, when he submitted Josh Barnett, which was kind of unexpected. I think a win over him will put me back on the top of the weight class, maybe even close to a title shot. But honestly, I'm not thinking about the belt now. All I want to do is fight as frequently as possible. If everything goes according to my plan, I want to have this fight in April, then another one in August or September and then again in December. Three fights in one year is a good number."

With multiple injuries occupying much of his time in 2015, it's kind of easy to see why dos Santos was so antsy to make it back into the Octagon. Save for his lethargic performance, and a bone-crushing knockout to a past rival, it all worked out for him in the end somewhat.

This just might be the wake-up call the American Top Team (ATT) representative needs, according to his former coach anyway. Dos Santos can't afford to stand opposite Rothwell gunshy, or his lights may go out again.

The Wisconsin native recently submitted former 265-pound champion Josh Barnett in what was a historic co-main event at UFC on FOX 18 last month. The win -- Rothwell's fourth straight -- puts him squarely in line for a title shot if he can turn back dos Santos.

If he were able to do that, he will have picked up victories over "The Reem," "The Warmaster" and dos Santos on this noteworthy win streak.

Who do you have in this tilt, Maniacs?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania