Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos (15-2, MMA) spoke with MMA Fight Corner’s Heidi Fang in an exclusive interview leading up to UFC 160 taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV on May 25, 2013. While he was initially slated to face Alistair Overeem, the man he was supposed to defend his title against at UFC 146, Overeem was forced to withdraw from their bout due to an injury. Now he’ll have “The Super Samoan” Mark Hunt (9-7, MMA), a PRIDE and K-1 veteran who has won his last four in a row, to handle in the co-main event.
It’s no secret that Junior was amped up to take on Overeem since their first fight dissolved when Overeem tested positive in a pre-fight drug test for elevated levels of testosterone. This time fate stepped in again, a quadriceps injury has scratched Alistair from the bout. But dos Santos said it hasn’t been disappointing for him in anyway to take on Hunt instead.
“No, I’m not frustrated to be facing this guy. Alistair Overeem is…I have nothing to say about this guy. He pulled out one more time for the fight, so I have nothing to say about him. What I care now is about Mark Hunt. Mark Hunt is a really tough fighter, he hits very hard, so I have to take care of that. I think it’s going to be a good fight for the fans. I’m getting prepared in Brazil and I think I’m going to be a hundred percent on the day of the fight.”
dos Santos is coming off of a loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 where he was dominated by Cain over the course of 25 minutes. In that championship rematch, Junior lost his title via unanimous decision. Since that fight, Junior has taken time to reflect on the loss, learn from his mistakes and start anew. With the challenge that Hunt presents also comes hope. If JDS can get past Hunt, he may get another shot at reclaiming the heavyweight title.
But Hunt is no pushover. He’s currently on a four-fight win streak in the UFC and has knockout victories over Chris Tuchscherer, Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve in that run. Junior also discussed Hunt’s most recent battle against Stefan Struve and credited the way he worked to defend himself against submission. Regardless, dos Santos thinks the power in his hands and overall game can overwhelm Hunt.
“He’s got a lot of power in his punches and I think it’s going to be pretty tough for me. I think I’m faster than him and I’m more complete than him, I think so,” dos Santos said of the upcoming fight. “I learned a lot of things in my last fight and during my career and I know it’s MMA and you have to be ready to fight anywhere. So, that’s how I will be for my next fight. I’ll be ready to fight anywhere and if I feel weird fighting standing with him, I’m going to take him down.”
Junior then reiterated that he’s not upset about not getting the rescheduled matchup Alistair next, but he did take the time to say what he thinks about the Dutch striker.
“I think this guy, like I said, I don’t have too much to say about him because he’s a joke. He says a lot of trash things and he’s a disrespectful guy. And I think their last fight, Bigfoot Silva, my friend Bigfoot Silva, put him in his place.”
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was also sitting in on the interview and said Alistair was all bark and no bite ahead of their scrap at UFC 156.
“He love media. He love media. He love to talk trash. Win the fight inside the cage, not outside the cage. He don’t win the fight with talk. He’s a trash guy.”
As of now, Junior dos Santos will have to make his way back into title contention. UFC President Dana White has said that the victor in JDS vs. Hunt could get a title shot and that’s all dos Santos is focused on attaining.
“I loved to be champion. I was champion. I like to be champion. For sure that’s my objective. I want to be champion again and I will do my best to get that. but I think now, for this time my friend Bigfoot Silva is going to beat Cain Velasquez and he’s going to become champion.”
In the case that both Bigfoot and JDS win their fights, they’ve already discussed squaring off against each other and have no problem doing so under certain circumstances.
“We already spoke about that and it’s going to be tough because he’s my good friend and we’re part of the same team, but we’re going to fight for the title, we’re gonna fight – without a title, no,” JDS stated.
“We are professional,” Bigfoot said. “Just different because we’re going to fight with small gloves. We train with big gloves and shin guards, now it’s small gloves, that’s normal. If the fans want to see the guys who train together to fight, that’s ok. For the title, that’s ok, no problem. After the fight, we’re going to stay together and go to the nightclubs.”
“We’re going to celebrate together after the fight. It’s going to be like a sparring session with small gloves,” said Junior. “”It doesn’t matter the result, we’re still going to celebrate together after.”
After falling to Cain, in what was also his first loss in the UFC after a 9-fight win streak, “Cigano” said he’s had time to reassess things and promises that this time out, he’s back with a vengeance.
“This sport is very tough. You have to be smart to learn with your mistakes. Cain Velasquez did a great job in that fight, but I feel like I wasn’t there. I wasn’t fighting against him. I didn’t impose my gameplan, and I just followed him. That was really tough, but I really learned a lot and it’s MMA. I really have to use all the weapons that I have – my jiu jitsu, my wrestling. Doesn’t matter if my wrestling is better or worse than him, but I have to use it, my jiu jitsu, wrestling, Muay Thai, boxing, everything. I have to use everything to win my fights. So I learned that and I think I’m going to come back stronger.”
Junior dos Santos will face Mark Hunt in the co-main event at UFC 160. Cain Velasquez and “Bigfoot” Silva will meet in a heavyweight title clash as the main event.
Ticket are on sale this week for UFC 160! See below for details:
Tickets for UFC®160: VELASQUEZ vs. BIGFOOT 2, presented by BUD LIGHT®, go on sale Friday, March 22 at 10 a.m. PT and are priced at $800, $600, $400, $250, $125 and $75. Tickets will be available at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at(800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Ticket prices do not include applicable service charges.
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UFC®160: VELASQUEZ vs. BIGFOOT 2 will be available live on Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on UFC.TV, iN DEMAND, DirecTV, DISH Network, Avail-TVN, and in Canada on BellTV, Shaw Communications, Sasktel, and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.99 US/$49.99 CAN for Standard Definition and $54.99 US/$59.99 CAN for High Definition.
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