The last time Junior dos Santos was the UFC world heavyweight champion was in 2012. Since then, he has been in pursuit of regaining the championship with the determination of a man who had never held it before. It has been a trying journey to regain the championship, but dos Santos has not been without his opportunities. Since losing the world title to Cain Velasquez in 2012, dos Santos has had two opportunities to regain the championship and he came up short both times.
Dos Santos was one win away from a third crack at becoming a two-time heavyweight champion, but Francis Ngannou brought that to an abrupt end Saturday night when he knocked dos Santos out 71 seconds into their fight. But if you think that this setback is going to deter dos Santos from his goal of regaining heavyweight gold, think again:
“[Losing] wasn’t on my plans, so I don’t really know what to tell you right now,” dos Santos told Bloody Elbow. “I had a lot of plans in a different situation, a different result. It’s so hard to build your way up in this division and this sport. Sometimes everything all of a sudden disappears in front of you. I’m a positive guy and I’m ready to rebuild. I know how to do it, and I will do it again.”
And the best way to resume a good chase is to get right back on the horse, which dos Santos is eager to do:
“Having another fight is kind of a medicine for me to heal this injury that defeat causes on you,” dos Santos said.
But just because dos Santos is not giving up on his title hopes and is ready to resume fighting to restart his pursuit doesn’t mean he expects it to come quick and easy. He knows firsthand that it will require a deep commitment to the grind:
“I was having good times building up my chance to fight for the title again,” dos Santos said. “I think it’s gonna take a little bit more time now.”
Do you believe Junior dos Santos will ever receive another UFC heavyweight title shot?