First UFC Loss Behind Him, Junior dos Santos Focused on Mark Hunt and Regaining Title

March 22, 2013
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Junior Dos Santos at UFC 131There’s an old saying in fight sports that goes something to the effect of: it’s not the wins in your career that define you; it’s the losses.

For former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, his dose of MMA reality came at the hands of Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 in December of last year. Since suffering his first defeat in the vaunted Octagon, dos Santos has had time to reflect on the stinging defeat to the Mexican-American bruiser, do some much needed soul searching, and refocus on his ultimate objective.

“The first four days after the fight was a depressing time,” dos Santos said on Wednesday during a promotional stop in anticipation for his upcoming fight against Mark Hunt at UFC 160 on May 25 in Las Vegas.

“It was tough. I was really, really sad. Because the thing is, I didn’t fight. I don’t care if the other guy is better than me and he wins because he did very well and I performed very well.  But in that fight, I didn’t fight. Cain Velasquez did very well, but I didn’t fight, so I was very sad.  After some time, I began to think about some things and I learned a lot.”

“Cigano” admits to re-watching that haunting fight over and over again, trying to piece together just what went wrong.

”When I watched the fight, I didn’t know I was out in the first round.  I don’t remember that punch,” he said when referring to a Velasquez right hand that dropped him to the canvas with just over a minute left in the opening frame.

After that, it was all down hill according to the former champion.

“When I watched the fight and saw that punch, (I realized) everything changed after that.  It was almost like automatic reactions after that – just defending myself.”

The thing is, he’s not wrong.

Up until that punch from Velasquez, he was doing fairly well, especially in Cain’s bread and butter area of wrestling, where dos Santos had stuffed all six of his opening takedown attempts.

Velasquez went on to batter dos Santos for 20 minutes in a fight that had UFC president Dana White predicting post-fight that the battered Brazilian would be taking some time off, because as White put it, “You need to take some time off after a beating like that.”

There’s always a silver lining, however, and not unlike his throngs of fans around the world, dos Santos was impressed with his ability to persevere in the face of a crushing heavyweight bruiser like Velasquez.

“I think I learned a lot from that fight,” he stated. “I always try to see the positive in everything. I was fighting (hard) and I think I’m pretty tough doing that (lasting five rounds), even if I got beat.”

Next up, dos Santos turns his attention to the surging heavyweight slugger out of New Zealand, former Pride and K-1 standout Mark Hunt.  A fan favorite, Hunt is currently riding a four-fight winning streak and is on the verge of a heavyweight title shot, after once being considered an afterthought from the Pride FC purchase in 2007.

For dos Santos – who was set to face Dutch striker Alistair Overeem before he was forced out due to injury – the Hunt fight is a bit more compelling in his eyes, as well as dangerous.

“I think for sure it’s gonna change (training and preparation) a little,” he stated. “The strategy will be a little bit different because I think Mark Hunt is tougher than Alistair Overeem.”

Overeem and dos Santos have had a contentious relationship with PED accusations flying and snarling taunts – something that is uncharacteristic for the mostly jovial Brazilian.  Although he may dislike Overeem, he certainly wasn’t going to wait to fight him or stall his career.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t care about Alistair Overeem. He’s a joker,” he said with a hint of disinterest. “I couldn’t stay waiting for him. Who is he?

“He’s not the champion. If he was the champion, it would be a pleasure to wait for him. But he’s nobody in the division that I should be waiting (for).”

When pressed about his discontent, the usually upbeat Cigano shrugged off any media fodder and said it was strictly about Overeem’s propensity for disrespect.

“He says so many things about me when he fought Bigfoot Silva. And now he says a lot about Bigfoot Silva after he fought him,” dos Santos explained. “It’s very hard to listen to that. And people give him a lot of attention just because he says those things.  I don’t like to be disrespectful to anyone, but in this case, he’s a joker.

“The main thing I don’t like is that he lies a lot. He says a lot of ‘trash’ things. It makes me sad.  You have to show who you are inside the cage. You can’t win it (by talking) outside the cage.”

Maybe one day Overeem and dos Santos will finally hash it out in the cage. In dos Santos’ mind, it doesn’t really seem to matter.

He talks openly about his appreciation for life and the opportunities given him, he trains hard so the fight is easy, and it’s now a fight-by-fight proposition for the former heavyweight champ.

Next up is Mark Hunt, and after that it’s whoever has the heavyweight belt.  He informs me that no matter who has the gold, whether it is Velasquez, Silva, or anyone in between, he’s only concerned with getting his championship back.

“The title is more important (than Velasquez rematch). The title is the objective of everybody, I think; for sure it’s my objective.”

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  • George Sperry

    I really like Junior, I wish him the best and hope he becomes Champ again some day.

    • bajafox

      I like Jr too, unfortunately I like Cain even more. If they fight again and we get a repeat of their second fight, I don’t see JDS ever holding the belt again

      • Cptmats

        I Like Junior too, but i think this is a bad match up for JDS, But as for Cain and Juniors second fight I think we saw Cain at his best against the worst Junior we have ever seen in the UFC.
        These two Guys have never fought when both were a hundred percent ! It will be a very different fight when they do.

        • bajafox

          As much as I want Cain to win the third match as well, I am hoping both will come in at 100% and we will see a HW war

        • mma

          Bad matchup? Mark hunt is absurdly overrated. Junior has better striking, grappling, stamina, footwork…i can go all day. Hunt is a slow plotting striker that throws one punch at a time with horrible groumd game. Hunt has lived off his great chin and power for his whole career. This will be a massacre by Dos Santos!

          • Cptmats

            You Obviously don’t know much about Hunt. He has Knocked better strikers than JDS !

  • solo

    He said i didnt fight!!! I think he didnt fight because he coudnt! He coudnt deal with the constant presure Cain put on him. JDS was confused, he was not used to fight going backwards almost all the time. Not to mention that punch Cain landed that took a lot of him. I like JDS but Cain destroyed him, he proved that he is imo in another level when he is 100%.

    • huntingmark

      I think what JDS meant was the “going backwards” part. What he could have done, regardless of the result, was getting in wild exchanges with Cain.

      But JDS didn’t do that because he wanted to wait until Cain cools down and then play his game. Also, JDS is not a wild exchange puncher but a technical boxer.

    • dgs

      Short-term memory affects many, including you. In the first Couture vs Liddel fight, Randy destroyed Chuck, made it look easy. I think we all know what happened the next two times they fought.

      For you to count out Junior in a third fight based on the 2nd fight, shows your inexperience and ignorance in the sport.

      • solo

        Did i actually wrote that? That i count JDS out? Are you insane??? I would never count JDS out! I just wrote that Cain was on another level in the fight, what is pure truth!!! Read carefully next time, before you judge my ignorance dude! And for you to mention those fights with Couture & LIdell shows me nothing exept your wish that the same thing happen with Cain & JDS. You’re looking at the their trilogy from a perspective of some other trilogy that happened years ago. Sad, i must say.

    • Jimmy Hoffa

      You missed the complete point of what he said. The punch from Cain in the first round is the reason he didn’t fight. He was knocked out on his feet. The punch was do devestating that he doesn’t even remember it to this day. Even after watching the replay.

  • fedorfan

    james veasquez you are a moron

    • solo

      and who you are? just another hater i guess. you dont even now hot to reply a comment and i’m a moron. oh, okey. i’m so offended. lool

  • JDS by KO. I would have rather seen JDS vs Bigfoot but maybe that fight will happen eventually anyway.

    • huntingmark

      Hunt vs Bigfoot would be good.

      • Cptmats

        I don’t think Bigfoot would be able to stand with Hunt !

      • Although I underestimated Hunt (who I am a fan of) against Kongo I think Bigfoot has that fight with his BJJ top game. Hunt is dangerous standing of course, but he is so far behind on the ground game there is no way he could handle guys like D. Cormier, Frank Mir or Cain V. on the ground. Best of luck to him of course.

        • Lucas Freire

          I really think that if Struve didn’t submit Hunt,it won’t be Bigfoot who will be able to.

          • Hopefully we’ll get to see that fight at some point. It would be interesting.

    • Milosc

      I think that would be a sparring match

      They’ve trained together in the past, through Nogueira

      • Do you see Bigfoot beating Cain? I see a rubber match between Cain and JDS. And hopefully The Reem gets back on track and fights JDS.

  • Jason Decipher

    JDS is a great fighter who could win his rematch with Cain. However I can imagine Hunt possibly knocking out JDS as well & derailing his title shot. I also hope & believe Cain will stay champion for awhile & keep a stranglehold on the HW title

  • Bjjjay

    Am i crazy? Did JDS not KO Velasquez? I feel like i’m the only one who remembers him knocking Velasquez out, and i’m sorry but i don’t think Velasquez deserved a shot after one win when he went down in the first.

    • Ep

      Doesn’t deserve rematch? He won!!!!! What an absurd comment

  • als

    jds will get knocked out sorry jds fans but hunt gonna upset u all!

  • Darelle Andrade

    I was a big fan of JDS eversince he started in the UFC. But i never thought that he would be destroyed by Cain easily on their 2nd fight. I’m hoping that he could regain on that loss and be a champion again.

    I want to see him use his jiujitsu/ground game, or else Mir could be right, it’s non-existent.

  • Boris

    Junior talking again! Bla bla bla

  • Jimmy Hoffa

    I like them both as well. Both worthy champions, men of honor types. That’s why I don’t have a favorite in the rematch. I hope the better man that night wins. But I would say this about JDS. If he hopes to win, he needs to make a fundamental change in strategy. Until he was hit by that big right in the first round, Junior was stuffing all of Cain’s takedown attempts. Well that’s not enough, not nearly enough against a cardio machine like Cain. If he hopes to win, Junior has to punish Cain every time he attempts a single or double leg takedown. If he doesn’t do something to make Cain think twice before attempting to take him down, Cain is going to keep coming until he gets him down. In an otherwise even round, the judges are going to award the round to the guy who gets the takedown, not the guy who stuffs a couple of attempts. Those are my thoughts. If JDS makes that adjustment, I think it could go either way. Too close to call in my book. But if the odds give Cain much more then an even chance of winning, I think I will bet of JDS because I would consider it a value bet.

  • NABU

    JDS sounds eager to get the belt back, but he has to work extra hard at the gym. Cain V. has been doing just that and thats what makes him the champ. Cain V. could have finished the fight in the 3rd round but i think he wanted to keep fighting because he really likes this sh*t.

  • DamianCross

    You cannot focus on Mark Hunt because he moves so fast, he’s invisible.

  • jds is champion no one is like jds and never will be ………cunts