Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos went through a very trying period of time before, during, and after losing his title to Cain Velasquez at last December’s UFC 155. ‘Cigano’ was reportedly getting a divorce, and severe overtraining had broken down his kidneys to the point of him urinating out the contents of his own muscles.

The end result was a one-sided throttling from Velasquez and a subsequent depression. However, ‘Cigano’ found his way back to the win column with a highlight reel spinning kick knockout of Mar Hunt at UFC 160, earning him the right to face Velasquez for a third (but perhaps not final) time. Dos Santos met up with our friends at MMA H.E.A.T. to discuss his excitement heading into the trilogy bout:

“I’m excited to go there and show how hard I trained at the gym and how I’m prepared for this. I just keep my focus on my objective, and I wanna be champion again. I’ve already felt this once, and I wanna feel it again.”

With the distractions that haunted him prior to his last meeting with Velasquez out of the way, ‘Cigano’ has a clear head going into what may be the biggest fight of his mixed martial arts career. He’s going to need it, because Velasquez has only been beaten once, albeit by a massive Dos Santos overhand right at UFC on Fox 1 in November 2011. After a humbling loss, that’s a performance he feels he can repeat this Saturday:

“I’m feeling great, I’m doing a great job taking care of myself. No injuries, nothing. I’m just a little bit smarter. We have to learn from the negative things, and I have. I got more experience now, it’s gonna help me a lot in this fight. I know they (the fans) are rooting for the best, so the best is gonna win.”

Dos Santos never has a lack of confidence heading into his bouts, but he never appears cocky. Win or lose at UFC 166, it’s hard to argue that he’s still not one of the best two heavyweights in the world. But he plans on winning, and when he does, he expects to face off with his rival Velasquez once again:

“Sooner or later, we’re gonna fight again.”

Check out his full interview: