Although Junior dos Santos has been stopped in two of his last three fights, and has slipped to #5 in the heavyweight ranks, the former champ is certain he can reclaim the title.
It wasn’t long ago when JDS was still knocking on the door for a title shot, but after being taken out by Alistair Overeem in December. That’s no longer the case. Prior to that, JDS did earn a decision win over fellow contender Stipe Miocic, but a lot of folks had the latter winning that bout.
Well, up next, JDS will battle surging heavyweight Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 86 on April 10th. It’s a huge bout for dos Santos, as he needs a win to stay in the title shot mix. Recently the feared slugger appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and while discussing his current position, dos Santos stated (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“I’m sure I got everything that it takes to be the champion again, so I just need to put everything in the right place, including my mind, my head, because we have to be confident,” JDS said. “To deal with this negative moment for me has been very tough because since my debut in the UFC in 2008, I just had victories, victories and victories until I became champion of the world. Then I lost to Cain Velasquez, I started to live bad, bad moments, including with injuries, and I’m trying to go out of those moments and start living the winning moments again. That’s why I’m working so hard now.”
It would be silly to write “Cigano’s” championship aspirations off at this juncture, as he is just 32 years-old, and if he bombs out Rothwell, the bandwagon will be full once again.
But, due to the wars JDS has been involved in, and because of the injuries he’s been forced to deal with, questions certainly remain as to whether he can rise to the top once again. Rothwell will be a tough test. Not only is the massive heavyweight a finisher on his feet, he’s been showcasing some nasty submission skills in his recent run.
UFC FN 86 will go down at the Zagreb Arena in Zagreb, Croatia.