Junior dos Santos may be coming off a loss to Alistair Overeem, and has dropped to #5 in the ranks, but “Cigano” hasn’t lost faith in his ability to reclaim the heavyweight belt.
The former champ will face Ben Rothwell later today, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 86. The bout will go down in Zagreb, Croatia.
It’s a crucial fight for JDS, as not only was he taken out by Overeem in December, but he’s dropped three of his last five fights. Recently JDS spoke with MMA Fighting.com, and the noted striker had this to say about his recent setbacks.
“I can clearly see the mistakes I made. And they were a lot,” said dos Santos, who has spent time training at a few different gyms in recent months. “Of course, changing teams, gyms, not having the coaches I always had around me, like (Luiz) Dorea… I don’t know. I won’t put blame on them for this. I’m not giving any excuses. (Alistair Overeem) was better than me, he had a strategy and was able to win. But I’m glad he decided to stay in the UFC so we can do a rematch in the future. I’m being positive about all this. I can see myself winning fights and fighting for the title soon. If it’s against him, even better.”
While some people have closed the book on “Cigano’s” chances of becoming champ again, it’s completely understandable to hear him talking this way. After all, two of his last three defeats came against Cain Velasquez, and JDS did work his way to a decision win over Stipe Miocic in 2014.
So, although dos Santos has had some significant setbacks, he is only 32 years old. At heavyweight, that’s not an age where you’ve exited your prime. Look at the champ Fabricio Werdum. He’s 38, and in 2011, he was decisioned by Overeem.
Now, if JDS gets bombed and or choked out by Rothwell today, then sure, his title shot prospects will be significantly damaged.