Despite not being very active recently, Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos remains at No. 2 in the heavyweight rankings and remains as arguably the best heavyweight on the planet not named Cain Velasquez. “Cigano” recently returned from over a year long layoff to topple top-contender Stipe Miocic in a back-and-forth bloody war last December.
Prior to his meeting with Miocic, JDS dropped a second brutal beating to Velasquez at UFC 166. With Velasquez not having competed since that event, the heavyweight champion is finally set to return this weekend at UFC 188 with hopes to unify the belt against interim champion Fabricio Werdum.
“Cigano” and Velasquez have a storied history as JDS infamously scored a first-round TKO of Velasquez back in 2011 at UFC on FOX 1 to win the belt. A hungry and revenge seeking Velasquez returned to absolutely destroy Dos Santos at UFC 155 and obviously did the same at UFC 166.
Despite having lost twice to the champion and only having one win in the last year and a half, JDS announced via his official Instagram account that he is in Mexico City for UFC 188, and actually expects to face the winner:
This is a bold statement from the former champion and one that may be untrue. There were recent rumors of a potential pairing between Dos Santos and No. 9-ranked Alistair Overeem. Stipe Miocic also recently scored a huge win and Andrei Arlovski extended his win-streak to three in a thriller against Travis Browne, two men that could be close to a title shot.
However, “Cigano” did just beat Mioicic and is still ranked atop the division, but it’s hard to see the UFC booking him against Velasquez for a fourth time. But if Werdum wins, well that could be interesting as JDS actually beat “Vai Cavalo” at UFC 90 back in 2008, and that would be quite the rematch.
In a thought to be contender-scarce division, is the heavyweight division actually becoming compelling again? No matter the outcome of UFC 188, what should be next for “Cigano”?