It’s an interesting time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight division. Current Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, sits at the top of the 265-pound mountain after knocking out Stipe Miocic — the man with most title defenses in the division (3) -- at UFC 226 last month.
But, the champ-champ is set to retire in the early part of 2019, and hopes to ride off into the sunset by cashing in on a big-money fight against ex-division king, Brock Lesnar, who hasn’t officially won a fight since 2010.
Should “DC” leave the sport as heavyweight king, the belt will be vacated, leaving it up for grabs for the rest of the division to fight for. So you can’t blame Junior dos Santos for having hope that one more win should put him in the thick of the championship race.
”The division is in a good moment right now, there are several good options. I would love a rematch with Stipe Miocic, but I don’t think they will do it. I don’t know why this fight wouldn’t make sense because the second one ended so quickly. He was happy to connect a punch, but that doesn’t prove superiority. We’re heavyweights. The same way he lost to (Daniel) Cormier, he defeated me,” proclaimed “JDS” during a recent interview with MMA Fighting.
After straightening out his issues with USADA, Junior returned after a year-long hiatus to take out Blagoy Ivanov last month at UFC Fight Night 133 to claim his first win since 2016.
”I’m not worried about trying to guarantee a fight for the belt because that’s automatic, it will happen,” dos Santos said. “I’ve always done my best inside the Octagon, fought the best there is, and win or lose I’ve done my best in my fights. If I’m not the champion today, it’s because of mistakes I’ve made. My opponents have merit, too, of course, but the experience I’ve gained was great. The price I had to pay for that experience was high sometimes, I stayed out for a while, but I’m rebuilding.
”That’s what I’m here for. I’m motivated. I’m 34, but I’m feeling stronger, in a special moment in my career, more mature and motivated. It’s inevitable that I will fight for the belt again. It will come eventually, there’s no escape.”
Even if Lesnar takes out Cormier and wins the strap, there is no telling if Brock will be an active champion, leaving the door open for some other big man to come in and take the lead.
With no current matchup awaiting "JDS" at the moment, the next couple of months should be interesting, as Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes are set to battle at UFC "Beijing" in November. If Junior doesn't have a fight booked by then, taking in either of those two big men -- win or lose -- is a good option.
Unless you want to see Velasquez vs Dos Santos 4?