Junior dos Santos: This Isn’t About Revenge, It’s About Staying Champion

May 24, 2012
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Throughout his eight-fight UFC career, if there was one thing you could say about heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is that he’s a pretty nice guy.

As cordial a fighter as there is in this sport, you’d be hard pressed to find a time when the Brazilian isn’t smiling or looking like he’s just having fun riding this rollercoaster that is mixed martial arts.

Dos Santos has never been accused of pulling punches when doing interviews, he’s just a genuinely nice person who rarely has said inflammatory statements about opponents because it’s not his style.

It all seemed to change, however, as Dos Santos found himself face to face with his opponent at UFC 146. The man who will challenge dos Santos on May 26 is former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, who is just removed from snapping the arm of dos Santos’ mentor and coach Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira last December.

In many of the interviews leading up to the fight, dos Santos has spoken very candidly about his feelings towards Mir’s fighting style and his perceived “lack of heart” when he gets into bad spots. The champion has insisted time and time again, it’s not trash talk and it’s nothing personal, he just thinks Mir folds when the pressure amps up.

“I think Frank Mir is the fighter he’s shown us he is. To me, he doesn’t know how to get out of tough situations. That’s how I see him as a fighter, that’s who and what he is to me. He gives up easily. When he gets into trouble, he gives up. I don’t think he’s a guy who knows how to get out of tough positions and tough situations,” dos Santos told MMAWeekly Radio prior to the fight.

“His fight against Big Nog, his last fight, that was an anomaly. Mir was ready to give up. Minotauro made a mistake, Frank Mir saw it and was able to capitalize on it and take advantage of it, but to me that’s not who the real Frank Mir is. To me that was an anomaly.”

So who does Junior dos Santos believe is the real Frank Mir?

“To me the real Frank Mir is the guy who can’t get out of tough situations, the guy who gives up when he encounters difficulty,” said Dos Santos.

Now with those kinds of statements being made, it would be easy to point to Mir’s win over Nogueira and believe that dos Santos is defending the honor of his coach, his country, and his team.

Unfortunately, dos Santos, while he loves and respects his coach and friend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, insists that this is about the man he’s about to face in the Octagon and nothing more.

There is no act of revenge at play here.

This is about a fighter coming to take away dos Santos’ dream, his livelihood, and his title belt, and simply put he’s not letting anybody do that no matter what their name is.

“Absolutely not there’s no sense of revenge or redemption to me. Those things, those feelings don’t exist for me; it’s a total non-issue. Fights are fights. You never know how they’re going to happen. You never know how they’re going to end. The whole country of Brazil was saddened by the way that Minotauro lost to Frank Mir. Us that were close to him, who know what an incredible person he is, we were all upset, we were all saddened by the loss, but that’s his loss, that’s Big Nog’s issue with Mir. That’s got nothing to do with my fight with Mir,” dos Santos stated.

“I want to fight Mir; I want to beat Mir because I want to stay the champion. He’s the person who is challenging me for my belt. He wants to take my belt; that’s something I hold very dear to me. I’m in a great moment of my career. I’m getting a lot of great opportunities. It’s a good moment for me and my family and I want to maintain that. To maintain that, I’ve got to defend my belt. That’s what motivates me. That’s what motivates me against Frank Mir.”

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  • smill0313

    Hopefully there will be some exciting pre-taped fights to air after cuz this one is not going out of the 2nd.

  • TKD

    Nobody could ever accuse me of being a Mir fan, but I would like to see Mir win this one. I think JDS is just making idiotic statements now.

    “Mir was ready to give up. Minotauro made a mistake, Frank Mir saw it and was able to capitalize on it and take advantage of it…” Isn’t that how fights are won? You rarely see a guy go into the ring and just destroy the other guy. It is usually an opening that a fighter takes advantage of to seal the deal. That statement alone leads you to believe that this is about much more than just keeping his belt.

    I will never be a Mir fan, but JDS is being a f*cking tool!

    • michaeltruong

      Junior’s whole point is that Frank doesn’t take openings. If they added more of what JDS said from the other interviews about Frank not putting enough effort to get out of danger it would make sense.

      Frank’s lax fighting style allows him to find big openings but when he’s in danger he lacks urgency and takes more hits. Sometimes you need to force openings.

    • KBEsq

      I totally agree with you. I’ve actually just had an a#* full of Brazilians in general. I still like most of the Brazilian fighters, but I’m starting to group some of the fighters with their fans. Their level of pride and arrogance is so high as to be annoying. JDS was saying that Mir wasn’t a man because of the way he fights.

      (by the way, this is a generalization. I’m well aware of the fact that there are great and modest Brazilians, and cocky and arrogant Americans)

      • Lesnardo

        Give him a break dude. He is not fluent in English.

        But I tend to disagree with JDS’s assessment of Mir as someone that gives up easily. Shots from Carwin or Lesnar would KO anyone.

  • kylesmith

    Mir has had plenty of come-from-behind wins. He broke Nog’s arm while he was asleep and he pulled out a kneebar on Lesnar when Brock was going all Donkey Kong on the back of his head.

    • markrenton

      Exactly… He also had to get major surgery after his motorcycle accident and worked his nuts off to get back to where he is.

      Mir is clearly a huge underdog here, but I am hoping he can find a way to pull this off. I have always liked JDS, but he’s been sounding like a dildo with the comments he’s been making.

      • Lesnardo

        Because (A) he is not fluent in English and (B) Frank Mir is a douchebag himself.

        I think Frank has heart. It’s just that he got destroyed by two monsters in Carwin and Brock.

        • jonnypatrick

          You don’t have to be fluent in English to sound intelligent. I believe they were referring to JDS saying Mir was not a man, and that he looks for ways out of the fight, that his BJJ is simple after he snapped his mentors arm. If Big Nog were that great he should have tapped Mir when he had him in a guillotine, instead he got rolled by Mir and then had his arm snapped. I am actually a fan of JDS but have lost respect for him after the 2 primetime episodes. Go Mir!

  • dderizzo

    Bring the Title back to the U.S.A. where it belongs.Go Frank Go………….

    • Booker T

      Amen to that comment.

  • jessemalloy

    I’ve always liked JDS and used to hate Frank Mir. Mir however has slowly made me into a fan while JDS has done nothing to spoil the fan in me. THAT being said, I’m backing my countryman simply for the fact he has the opportunity to bring the title back to America. Nothing more than pride in my country on this one. Hopefully we get as great a fight as I think we can.

  • adam1848

    I like Mir. He has grown on me over the years. I remember clearly thinking I would never see him again after the Vera fight, and look where he is now. Mir could have quit after his accident, but he rehabbed properly instead. He could have quit after the Vera fight, but he improved his stand up instead. He could have quit after Brock showed him to be undersized, but he put on muscle (I believe honestly and without juice) instead. And he could have quit when Nog rocked him, but he tapped him out instead. That, to me, sounds like heart.

  • Mir grows on people like fungus does. You want to call JDS arrogant? What does that make Mir?
    Who am I? Who am I? Going over to scream at Brock after he won the interim(?) belt then not lasting long enough to make a fight of it?
    Brock can knock out anyone? Huh? He left the Sport because that isn’t true.
    Who cares what nationality the champ is? I care that a decent human being is champ.
    Okay, I can’t stand Mir but if you expect Mir to beat him you will have a very bad Saturday night.

    • Lesnardo

      No one seriously expects Mir to win. All of these nuthuggers are simply saying that Mir has “some” chance of winning.

      “Don’t count Mir out.”

      “Mir does have chance of winning because anyone can be beaten.”

      • jonnypatrick

        I’m a huge fan of JDS and like Mir as well. Lesnardo it seems like you hug on the nuts of anyone who is not American, so how about a nice warm cup of… shut the f**k up! If you don’t think Mir has a chance you are an idiot, not saying he will win but he has a 50/50 chance of winning. I think his overall game really out weighs JDS and his boxing. He has great take down defense on wrestlers but Mir doesn’t have a wrestling base. I think if this fight gets past the 1st round Mir will be the champ again. This is his chance if he truly wants it. I guess we will see tomorrow. Let’s go Mir bring the belt back to the USA on Memorial Day weekend!!!