It’s been more than a year since we’ve seen Junior dos Santos in action, but the former UFC Heavyweight Champ returns on Saturday night at UFC on Fox 17. Facing Alistair Overeem, dos Santos is seeking victory at all costs, with a return to the title picture in front of him.
In an interview with Combate in Brazil, dos Santos said he’s coming back as the same man, and after he wins he wants to fight whomever happens to be holding that Heavyweight Championship.
“People can expect the same Cigano from always, aggressive, looking for the fight and also a bit more confident, I believe,” dos Santos said (translated by Lucas Rezende at BloodyElbow.com). “No matter where the fight goes, I will be more prepared to take advantage of the opportunities. It’ll depend on what he will offer me. If he offers me the chance to knock him out, I will. If he offers me the chance to submit him, I will. If I win by the decision, I will take that, too. I will win no matter where the fight goes. Winning is all that matters.
“My main goal today is the belt, but it doesn’t matter who has it. I don’t to fight an specific athlete, I want to fight for the belt. I don’t want to fight [Fabricio] Werdum. Actually, I don’t care about him at all. The only reason why I promoted that fight before was because I wanted to fight for the belt. But it didn’t work since Cain got the rematch.”
Penick’s Analysis: Dos Santos has had a couple of long layoffs in the last couple years, and he didn’t look particularly great after the last one despite eking out a win over Stipe Miocic. If he comes back and beats Overeem here, and can do so impressively, he’s a very real option for a title fight in 2016, especially if Werdum is still champ given his previous win over him; regardless, it’s all dependent on Saturday, and if he looks good he’ll stake his claim for that shot.
[JDS art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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