Rising UFC heavyweight contender Tai Tuivasa says his defeat to Junior dos Santos still burns his soul.

Three wins into his UFC career, the Aussie faced his toughest opponent in Dos Santos last December. Despite having his moments early on, Tuivasa was eventually caught by the Brazilian in the second round and mounted.

As “JDS” threw down strikes, Tuivasa was still fighting back, but the referee saw enough and called an end to the action. It was his first professional defeat.

READ MORE:  Mateusz Gamrot eager to test grappling against Charles Oliveira after UFC Vegas 79: 'He's the most dangerous'

Now looking to bounce back against Blagoy Ivanov at UFC 238 on June 8 in Chicago, Tuivasa reflected on that setback.

“I watch it every night before bed, it burns my soul,” Tuivasa told AAP (via Canberra Times). “I got caught, I learnt a lot about not rushing. I shouldn’t rush. I get a bit blood hungry. That’s young and dumb. He’s been around forever and he saw that, so he took advantage.”

Tuivasa Working On Wrestling

Tuivasa faced a striker in Dos Santos, but will now face Ivanov who has a background in sambo and judo.

READ MORE:  Cris Cyborg reveals peace talks with UFC boss Dana White amid feud: 'I forgave him, I don't hold grudges'

“Bam Bam” says he has been working on his wrestling extensively and will be comfortable if the fight goes to the ground. He’s also ready to show the world other things he has learned in recent months.

“I’ve been wrestling non-stop,” he added. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to come out and double leg someone, but I’ve been working on it and got my body in shape. I think if you’re fit enough to wrestle, I think you’re fit enough to do anything.

READ MORE:  The Dynamic World of MMA: Techniques, Titans, and Tips for Fans

“I think I’m fitter than ever and I’ve worked on stuff and I’m excited to show the world. I feel like I’m getting better at the sport. I’m finding more of a passion for the sport.”

UFC 238 will be headlined by a bantamweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko defends her women’s flyweight title against Jessica Eye.

Experienced freelance sports writer covering mixed martial arts (MMA) extensively for the last few years. Likes a good body shot.