Jorge Santiago wants to live the American Dream.
The message is clear from the American Top Team middleweight that he wants to come back and fight in the United States. He is now just searching for the best offer that will help him build his brand on American soil the way he’s done overseas as the Sengoku middleweight champion in Japan.
Universally ranked as one of the best middleweights in the world, Santiago has won 11 out of his last 12 fights, and while Japan has been very good to him over the last few years, he wants to fight in the United States again.
“Jorge wants to come into the U.S. market,” Santiago’s manager Alex Davis told MMAWeekly Radio. “He wants to come to the States.”
Santiago has fought in the U.S. several times in the past including a 2007 run through a one-night Strikeforce middleweight tournament that saw him defeat Trevor Prangley and Sean Salmon. Since that time, Santiago has been fighting in Japan, but still has his sites set on fighting closer to home.
A few months back, Davis had said he hoped Santiago would get a shot at the rumored Strikeforce middleweight tournament, and while the promotion never went ahead with those plans, the Brazilian born fighter still believes that’s the best place for him to call home once again.
“The obvious best choice for him would be Strikeforce because he could fight in Japan and maintain the territory he’s gained in Japan, and still fight in the U.S.,” Davis explained.
“Strikeforce has a full roster right now. Jorge is the best 185-pounder outside the UFC and his purse is an expensive purse. Even if we’re flexible about it, it’s still a pretty good purse, and Strikeforce is being kind of iffy on it.”
Strikeforce has a fairly stacked division in the middleweight class with submission specialist Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza leading the way as champion. Davis says that the promotion has every interest in adding Santiago to the roster as well, but right now they just can’t pull the trigger.
“We have a standing offer with them, we have a negotiation going, and hopefully we see Jorge in there. Jorge wants to fight in the U.S. and that’s the place for him,” said Davis.
“They want him in there, but they say they’re going to have to cut people to put him on there. So we’re still waiting to see what happens.”
Strikeforce will put on its next major show in early December, but no plans for 2011 have been announced as of yet. Davis knows that Santiago could step in day one and challenge “Jacare” for the Strikeforce belt, and he hopes they can get a deal done to make it happen.
There’s been no official word about Santiago’s return to the ring, although Sengoku will have an ambitious show to close out 2010 in Japan. The American Top Team fighter last competed in August with a TKO win over Kazuo Misaki, the second time he’s defeated the Japanse middleweight.