Despite being very un-active and often injured, Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos remains one of the best 265-pounders in the world, sitting at No. 2 in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He recently returned to action last December at UFC on FOX 13 after 14-months on the sidelines, scoring a decision win over Stipe Miocic in a back-and-forth, bloody war.
Now recovering from yet another injury, a potential bout between JDS and Alistair Overeem has been discussed, and although “Cigano” has expressed interest in the bout, the former champion also has his eyes on other options.
The heavyweight title, not having been defended since October 2013 when Dos Santos last fought for it, is finally set to be put on the line next month between two men JDS knows very well, current champ Cain Velasquez and interim champion Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum.
Dos Santos beat Velasquez once by first-round knockout the first time they met back at UFC on FOX 1 in 2011, but took two vicious beatings from the champion at UFC 155 and UFC 166 respectively. “Cigano” and Werdum have only met once on the other hand in 2008, with Dos Santos scoring a first-round knockout over his fellow Brazilian.
Many are expecting Velasquez to take out Werdum if the champion is healthy, but JDS would like Werdum to win. And if “Vai Cavalo” scores the upset, “Cigano” would like to rematch him for the title in Brazil:
“Werdum likes to talk trash, he is controversial. He likes to put words in people’s mouths. If he wins, I think I’ll face him right away”, he told Combate. “That would be a great rematch. If Cain wins, however, I will probably have to fight once or twice more. I hope Werdum wins. It would be great if the fight happened in Brazil. Two Brazilians fighting for the heavyweight title would be amazing for the country and for the sport. I got nothing personal against anybody. He’s on a good streak and I hope he performs well, but I don’t think it will be easy.”
Dos Santos is not unrealistic, however, noting that Velasquez is the best heavyweight in the world, but he does think Werdum may have a chance on the ground, where “Vai Cavalo” holds a very decorated jiu-jitsu background:
“Werdum’s Muay Thai has evolved a lot and Cain has been on the sidelines for a long time, though I don’t think that will be a hindrance for him. His partners will make sure he won’t be rusty for the fight. It’s a fight people will like to watch. Werdum has a chance on the floor, that’s his specialty and he can’t risk too much. He needs to take it where he is comfortable. He has the best jiu-jitsu in the heavyweight division. That’s his chance, because Cain is a huge favorite over any heavyweight out there”.
Does Werdum stand a chance against Velasquez at UFC 188 in Mexico?