It might surprise some to learn that Thiago Santos is 37. However, the light heavyweight contender has no plans of stopping fighting just yet.
Santos is on a two-fight losing streak following defeats to Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira. He will look to return to the win column when he faces Aleksandar Rakic at the UFC 259 pay-per-view event taking place March 6.
Another setback could hinder his chances of contending for the title again.
However, even if that should happen, “Marreta” has plenty left in the tank as he will even compete in his forties to achieve his goal of becoming UFC champion.
“My goal is to become the UFC champion,” Santos told MMA Junkie. “I’m not in the UFC just to be in the UFC. I plan to fight past the age of 40. It all depends on how much my body can take. As long as I can have good performances, I’ll keep working at it.”
He won’t face an easy task in Rakic next who is 5-1 in the UFC and coming off a unanimous decision win over Anthony Smith.
However, given the Austrian’s skillset along with his own, Santos is expecting an “awesome” fight.
“Aleksandar is super tough,” Santos said. “He’s young. He’s scored several great wins in the UFC. He’s tall, strong, with a great reach. He hits hard. He has very good kickboxing, and uses takedowns and wrestling when necessary. I think it’s going to be an awesome fight.
“On fight night, I believe I’ll be a better version of myself, better than the one who fought Glover. I’m going to surprise everyone. Without a doubt, it’s going to be a great fight. Fans should not miss this one. We’re both very aggressive. I’m ready to bring home another win.”
As for his submission loss to Teixeira — in which he knocked down his fellow compatriot twice prior to losing — Santos believes his preparation was perfect going into the fight.
It was just ring rust that played a major factor, however.
“Against Glover, he did what he had to do,” Santos added. “He was very strategic. We knew what he was going to do. I trained hard for that bout. I was ready. My wrestling and jiu-jitsu were on point. By that time, I was fully recovered from COVID-19.
“What really weighed on me was the time away from the octagon. The lack of fight time made the difference. Glover deserves full credit. Now, I am completely focused on what’s ahead, on winning my next fight.”
Who do you think will win between Santos and Rakic?