This weekend UFC makes its foray into Croatia and the debut card features some exciting fights. The main card is dotted with some interesting Heavyweight matchups, but none more than the main-event.
Ben Rothwell, the UFC veteran is on the cusp of a title shot in the 265-lbs division, riding on a 4-fight win streak. However, his task is far from easy as he is set to face former champion Junior Dos Santos in a fight set for 5 rounds.
Dos Santos, a powerful striker and among the elite in the Heavyweight division for close to a decade, has had a mixed bag of results in his last few fights. However, the Brazilian bomber is just another victory away from re-establishing himself as a force to be reckoned within the division. As part of his preparation heading into this big fight this weekend, Junior Dos Santos spoke wth The Fan Garage for a brief chat, the excerpts of which are below:
Q. For the first time in years, you have brought along Luiz Dorea, one of your past trainers from the time when you were the champ. What necessitated such a move and how do you think it will help in your upcoming fight against Big Ben?
I’ve trained with Dorea for my whole career since my first fight he was there with me so everything what I know, I’ve learned with him and from him. And also, in my last camp, I didn’t have him with me and so, I missed him.
Now we brought him because he knows me very well and knows how to motivate me better. So, the training: his boxing is very good. He’s the best boxing coaches in Brazil and one of the best in the world.
So, it’s really good for me to have him with me again and I’m sure that this works very well.
Q. Do you feel that a lot of people, be it the fans and/or MMA pundits by not mentioning you in the discussions for Heavyweight title contenders, are overlooking you ever since your 2nd loss to Cain Velasquez over 2 and half years ago?
Right now, I don’t pick opponents. Anyone that the UFC puts in front of me, I’ll be ready to fight with him. Of course, Cain Velasquez and I had a great trilogy and he got the better momentum at that time so that was good for him but like I said, I still believe that I can be the best and that I am the best of this division. So sooner or later this fight is going to happen again. And then I’m gonna show it and I’m gonna try and prove to everybody what I’m saying. I’m, not just saying it, I really believe in that. I have a lot of work to do right now. That’s why I’m not mentioned in a rematch with him or a title fight, because I know a lot to do and I’m ready to do this so let’s take this one step after another.
Q. Being renowned as an entertaining heavyweight yourself, what are your thoughts on the lower weight classes in the UFC, where there aren't as many knockouts perhaps because fighters don't carry as much power, but place greater emphasis on movement and footwork
I think the little guys fight well and they are really really fast. So it’s nice to see them and how fast they are and their techniques and they can show that better for us, you can see that difference a little bit clearer when they are fighting and when we are fighting. But, of course, our division is incredible. I think it’s the best one. Not saying that it’s the best because we have the best skills, or we are better than them, we’re not. I’m just saying that in the heavyweight division, things are harder and are more difficult, because as soon as you get punched, the whole fight can change. When the fight goes to the ground, you have a guy 265lbs on top of you and hitting you, that’s not a good thing to have. So it’s pretty hard and that’s why it’s the most difficult division here. But, I like to watch the little guys fighting, they’re good, they’re really good.
Watch UFC Fight Night 86 – Ben Rothwell vs Jr. Dos Santos, on 10th April 2016 @ 11:30 PM (IST), Live & Exclusive on SONY ESPN