Fans who are new to mixed martial arts (MMA) might have missed one of the better heavyweight rivalries in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), courtesy of former champions Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.
In fact, the promotion kicked off its FOX television deal with a single fight, the championship showdown that featured “Cigano” knocking out Velasquez in just 64 seconds. The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) standout would avenge those losses with hellacious beatings at both UFC 155 and UFC 166.
Eight years later, neither fighter is ranked in the Top 5.
But that hasn’t stopped Dos Santos (19-5) from campaigning for another go-round, if nothing else than to prove he’s still the better fighter. Heck, while he’s at it, the Brazilian would love to avenge losses to Stipe Miocic (UFC 211) and Alistair Overeem (UFC on FOX 17), as well.
“That would be great to have a fourth fight with Velasquez,” Dos Santos told Submission Radio. “No doubt I would love to fight him again, I would love to fight Miocic again. And maybe even Alistair Overeem. He did great in his last fight, so maybe we can have also a rematch. I wanna fight this guy. Because in my mind I committed mistakes in those fights. That’s why they won. They are not better than me. And if they think that’s done, it’s not done. The only way it’s done is if they go away like Cain Velasquez is doing – going away. Then it’s done. If they stay here and they fight in the UFC, it’s not done and I’m coming for them.”
Dos Santos, 34, might be putting the cart before the proverbial horse.
That’s because the UFC Fight Night 142 main event will decide if and when he gets to call his next shot. “Cigano” is tasked with turning away hometown hero Tai Tuivasa, the 25 year-old Aussie who is undefeated in eight trips to the cage. That includes a unanimous decision win over Andrei Arlovski last June.
While he was able to outbox Blagoy Ivanov for 25 minutes back in July, it’s worth noting that Dos Santos has not won back-to-back fights in over six years, so he may need to start stringing some wins together to make a heavyweight rematch more attractive.
Who knows, by then Velasquez may have already set sail for
greener faker pastures.