Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos has had a rough time since his first rematch with Cain Velasquez. The Brazilian boxer got bashed twice by the current boss of the division, and had gruelling wars with Mark Hunt and Stipe Miocic on the way.
One opponent that Dos Santos never got to face was his original UFC 160 booking Alistair Overeem. “The Reem” got embroiled in dramas including fleed drug tests and multiple injuries, meaning he and ‘Cigano’ never got to have their much-anticipated encounter. This hasn’t stopped the Dutch kickboxer from calling out Dos Santos though.
Talking with the MMA Hour this past Monday, the Brazilian was quick to address Overeem’s repeat call-out:
“I have to smile because this guy… He knows I’m hurt and that’s why he’s saying these things, I’m injured and I can’t fight right now and that’s why he’s saying this kind of things. I really think he wants to promote himself. I wanna see him saying these things when I’m 100 percent again. I think he’s going to be quiet again.”
“But of course, I don’t pick opponents,” he continued. “If the UFC wants me to fight him, I will fight him and I will be glad to face him. We were supposed to fight twice and both of the times didn’t happen because something happened with him.”
Dos Santos had responded on occasions before, and this fight would simply be dynamite. Two heavy-handed knockout artists, one built to survive horrendous beatdowns, the other…not so much. Dos Santos continued, addressing his losses to Cain Velasquez:
“It’s a very tough time for me. I don’t know what happened, bad things started to happen with me, but I think bad things comes to you to make you learn something,” he said. “I think I’m learning a lot, I think it’s going to make me a better person and a better athlete. For sure, I don’t know why it’s happening, it’s very tough. Last three years were really tough for me, but I believe things will go well for me and I will be 100 percent again.”
‘Cigano’ suffered one-sided, ugly losses at the hands of Cain Velasquez in their second and rubber matches. He barely pulled the win out of the bag against Miocic last December, so what makes him think he could face the champion again and make it out alive?
“I’m seeing things in a different way now,” dos Santos said. “All the times I tried to use my boxing skills in my fights and it’s MMA. I know I have to my best skills, which is my boxing skills, but I have to be able to fight anywhere. Like Velasquez. My boxing skills always worked out very well against all my opponents, but against Velasquez he did a good job and avoided my stand-up game.
“I think I have to be able to fight on the ground with him and in other places because, like I said, it’s MMA. I’m learning a lot of things, learned that I have to be more patient when I’m fighting, that I have to be more focused. When you have hard times, I think you learn more.”
So will we ever get to see Junior Dos Santos vs Alistair Overeem? If so, who would your money be on? The giant Dutchman has been knocked clean by Travis Browne, Ben Rothwell and ‘Bigfoot’ Silva while in the UFC, can he take the brutal power of ‘Cigano’?