Junior Dos Santos will be making his second title defense at UFC 155 against Cain Velasquez, the man who he defeated to win the belt. I had a chance to talk to him about fighting Cain again, how healthy he was in their first fight, and what life has been like as a champion.
Examiner: Hey Junior, how are you today?
Dos Santos: I am great, A.J. It is close to fight day, so I am happy. I am glad to talk to you again. It means it is almost time to work.
Examiner: The last time we talked to you, you were preparing to challenge for the UFC title against Cain Velasquez at the first UFC on FOX show back in November of last year. You finish Cain in just over a minute at that fight, then you get a stoppage against Frank Mir in May. Did you ever think after making such a big statement in your first fight with Cain that you would be fighting him again just over a year later?
Dos Santos: To me, it is just one more fight. At this time, I think Cain Velasquez probably is the #1 contender for the title. I don’t choose opponents. That isn’t my job. It’s my job to beat whoever the UFC puts in front of me. I don’t really care who it is. Whoever they put in front of me, I will just try to go out and beat them.
Examiner: Were you surprised at the strategy Cain went into that first fight with? Not many people expected him to try and stand with you.
Dos Santos: Cain Velasquez is a really good wrestler, and when he uses that wrestling he is very good. I expect this fight will be much different from the last fight. I think he will try and get me down on the ground as soon as possible to try and ground and pound me. I am very well prepared though, and I think at the end of the night the result will be the same. I will knock him out.
Examiner: Do you think injuries played into the results of the first fight?
Dos Santos: Maybe, maybe not. He had a hurt knee and needed surgery after the fight. I had a knee surgery after the fight. I don’t think anyone is ever 100% in this sport, but I am glad we are both close to being healthy now for this second fight.
Examiner: You recently received your black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. What did that mean to you?
Dos Santos: It was very important for me. I always want to be evolving as a mixed martial artist. I think that was very important for me to do. When Yuri Carlton gave me my black belt, I was very emotional. When you first start to do jiu-jitsu everyone has the goal of being a black belt. You want to be great at everything you do. Today I am a black belt, and I am really happy about that.
Examiner: Since you have been in the UFC, you are undefeated. Who has been the toughest fight for you to this point and why?
Dos Santos: At this point I would probably have to say Roy Nelson. He was a good fight for me because he frustrated me in that fight. It took 3 rounds and I couldn’t knock him out. He is a very tough fighter, so I would have to say Roy has been my toughest fight so far.
Examiner: Recently there has been an influx of guys to the UFC. Alistair Overeem, and it’s well chronicled why you haven’t fought him yet. Daniel Cormier is another guy who you haven’t seen. Assuming you win this fight, do you think it will be one of those guys next for you?
Dos Santos: Probably, but like I said earlier A.J., I don’t care who I fight. I love to fight and it is a great job, so I just fight whoever they put in front of me. I will be ready to face anyone. Those guys are good fighters, and if they have a chance to fight for the title I will be ready for them.
Examiner: How has life changed since you won the title?
Dos Santos: Life has changed a lot. I am living a better life for sure. I am having a lot of good opportunities, and I am happy about that. It is great motivation for me to keep things going like that. I really enjoy everything involved with the belt, and I want to keep it for a really long time.
Examiner: Thanks for taking the time Junior. Good luck on Saturday night and have a great new year.
Dos Santos: Happy New Year to you too my friend, and I hope everyone tunes in to watch my fight on Saturday.