Junior dos Santos has a specific path in mind to get back his UFC championship title.
The former heavyweight ruler will face Octagon newcomer Blagoy Ivanov in the main event of tonight’s (Sat., July 14, 2018) UFC Fight Night 133 from the CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho, yet during a recent pre-fight interview with MMAjunkie, dos Santos focused on one of his biggest rivalries gone by.
“Cigano” knows that everyone at heavyweight wants to ace new champion Daniel Cormier, and of course he does too. With Cormier teasing only two more fights before he retires, however, the Brazilian slugger chose a perhaps more realistic path back to a future shot at gold by aiming for a trilogy bout with former champ Stipe Miocic, whom “DC” blasted to steal the belt at last Saturday’s UFC 226:
“When you become the champion, you become a target,” Dos Santos said. “Now, the new target for the heavyweight division is Daniel Cormier. Everybody, of course, wants to fight him., including me. And eventually, at some point, it’s going to happen. But the division is living a good moment. I want to do this third fight with Miocic, too.
“That could be a good fight for one of these shows. There are many good fights. The heavyweight division is living a good moment and we can give the fans a lot of excitement.”
Dos Santos owns a win over Miocic, a razor-thin decision in an all-out war in 2014, while the record-setting former champ from Cleveland got his revenge with a TKO victory at 2017’s UFC 211. With the score even in the record books, “Cigano” thought the two could run it back while Cormier fights Shogun Rua at light heavyweight and then Brock Lesnar at heavyweight in his last two fights.
Prompted if it should be for the next shot at the championship, dos Santos agreed the score-settling rivalry should have some extra stakes attached to it:
“I would love that. I wasn’t thinking about that, but that’s a good idea. Our third fight and then the winner fights for the title, maybe. Good.”
No. 3 contender Curtis Blaydes, who was highly critical of Lesnar’s WWE-inspired appearance at UFC 226, would probably have much to say about that, but Cormier’s plans appeared somewhat set for the time being, and he already said a dangerous young contender like “Razor” wouldn’t be a big enough fight for him due to how much time he has left in the sport.
If “DC” really cuts back down to light heavyweight, Miocic or dos Santos might not be on the champ-champ’s radar, either, so “JDS” may have to settle on fighting for a shot at a vacant title. Or, maybe he should keep his eyes on the lesser-known but dangerous opponent he has tonight.