Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos believes a win over Francis Ngannou will earn him another crack at the title. However, he is not willing to wait in case it doesn’t.
Dos Santos takes on Ngannou in the headliner of UFC Minneapolis this weekend. A win for “Cigano” would make it four straight wins, following triumphs over Blagoy Ivanov, Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis. With no other contender likely to more be deserving of a title shot than him if that were the case, Dos Santos believes there is nowhere to go but to challenge the heavyweight champion.
But that doesn’t mean he will just sit on the sidelines and wait for a title shot either:
“Actually, there is nowhere to go after this. The winner of this fight will [fight] for the title,” Dos Santos told MMA Junkie. “But sometimes the UFC, they invent some things, you know? But I don’t really care about that. Of course, my main goal is the belt. I want to become champion again, but I’m not in a rush for that, you know? The most important thing is to keep fighting, keep myself active, having like three fights per year, minimum.”
Dos Santos has been more active than in previous years and hopes to keep things that way. He particularly cited an example of how instead of waiting to challenge an injured Cain Velasquez for the title, he opted to remain active by facing Shane Carwin.
He would defeat Carwin before famously knocking out Velasquez to become champion back in 2011:
“The first time I fought for title, I was supposed to fight Cain Velasquez,” Dos Santos explained. “Cain Velasquez got hurt against Brock Lesnar, so I couldn’t fight him, he was out one year. They said, ‘Oh, you can wait that whole one year to fight him for the belt, or you can have another fight.’ I said, ‘No, I need another fight.’ Then Dana White brought me the chance to be coach on ‘TUF,’ then I fight Shane Carwin. So, I’m not going to do waiting for fights, man. I’m 35 years old. The last five years I do fight once per year, now I want to do minimum of three.”
Dos Santos Questions Ngannou’s Skill Level
Of course, Dos Santos still needs to put away Ngannou who seems to be back to his devastating old self following recent finishes over Curtis Blaydes and Velasquez. “The Predator” is known for his power, but Dos Santos questions his skill level more than anything:
“I never fought him, so I don’t really know how powerful he is,” Dos Santos added. “But everyone is talking about him. As I can see his last fights, he has a lot of power. But the thing is sometimes too much power without the right amount of control is not really good thing, you know? So I believe he has a lot of power, but skill-wise he is not that level.”