UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will defend his title on May 13 in Dallas, Texas when he takes on the last man to defeat him, former titleholder Junior dos Santos, who plans on regaining UFC gold in devastating fashion.
“Cigano”, who beat Miocic via unanimous decision back in 2014, wasn’t the original plan for Miocic’s upcoming title defense. Coming off a win over Ben Rothwell, the Brazilian was slated to headline an event in Halifax against Stefan Struve, but a series of changes led towards a title bout for the American Top Team talent.
For dos Santos, though, it was no surprise that he got the shot at Miocic.
“I knew I’d fight for the belt since my win over Ben Rothwell,” dos Santos told MMA Fighting. “It took longer than I expected, but when other athletes started to turn down fights with me, creating millions of excuses, the only option was to fight the one who didn’t hide and accepted the fight, the champion Stipe Miocic.”
Before his fight with Struve was booked, and after the Dutch heavyweight was forced out due to an injury in Halifax, “Cigano” was offered other opponents by the UFC and said “yes” to all of them.
That tendency to be a company man could be the reason why dos Santos is now getting a shot at Miocic despite coming off one single win, but the Brazilian believes that, in the end, accepting every offer didn’t help him after all.
“Actually, I think that the fact that I always stepped up to fight anyone has been an issue for me, because, as we can see, other (fighters) are strategical and clearly pick fights,” dos Santos said. “In my opinion, the right move has been made. I not only beat the current champion, but I’m also coming off a win over the guy that was coming up in the division before he faced me, and I had a big win with a great performance, unlike other alleged title contenders.”
Dos Santos had to dig deep to defeat Miocic in a five-round fight at UFC on FOX 13, but said he “left no doubts” that he should have won the decision.
“But it really was a tough fight,” dos Santos admitted.
Now, at UFC 211, the Brazilian aims to score a knockout for the first time in almost four years.
“I don’t think we will go past the third round this time,” said dos Santos, whose last knockout win was in a UFC 160 clash against Mark Hunt. “I can guarantee you it won’t be a knockdown like in the first fight, it will be a knockout now.”
“I believe [Miocic] has really evolved, but he can’t use his recent knockouts as a parameter,” dos Santos continued. “I’m different. I’m as strong as him, and I’m the fastest heavyweight in history. Whatever his strategy is, I will win.
“Everybody knows I’m more confident standing, that I have my boxing as my background and that I go for the knockout the entire time. There’s nothing new. If he decides to stand and trade with me, he will go down — and this time he won’t get back up again.”
Source:: mma fighting