UFC: Junior Dos Santos Addresses His Three Recent Losses
Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos suffered his third straight stoppage loss this past weekend, when he was finished in the second round by Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 252. Despite the “bad phase” however, the veteran isn’t considering hanging his gloves up just yet.
The Loss To Rozenstruik
Speaking to MMA Fighting, dos Santos said that he was feeling great in the fight, up until the moment Rozenstruik caught him.
“We know a fight is a fight and everything is possible, but I was feeling great,” dos Santos said. “One of the best shapes I’ve ever had. There’s always that pre-fight tension, but I was very confident. And maybe I didn’t follow the strategy, which was to vary my attacks instead of doing what I do best, which is my boxing.
“I found the distance, I was seeing everything clearly, everything was going well, and all of a sudden… It’s that heavyweight thing, especially against Jairzinho, who hits really hard, one of his punches grazed and you go out for a brief moment and that’s enough to take you out of your game and your opponent uses that to finish the fight. I was doing really well and it was unfortunate that I lost.”
The 36-year-old Brazilian believes that he is just going through a “bad phase” in his MMA career.
“A difficult moment. I’m going through a weird moment where it’s very difficult for things to go right. We have to evolve,” dos Santos said. “Sometimes we can’t even understand what needs to be changed or not. Regardless of that, man, it’s obvious that we’re analysing my reaction to his movements in there, but it’s hard to come to a simple answer, you know? I really call it a bad phase.
“We obviously have to learn and try to absorb as much as we can to get better for the fight. And maybe we need to work more on not giving openings to our opponents, you know? Follow the plan we had instead of letting the fight go, using more kicks, boxing, wrestling and even jiu-jitsu.”
Prior to the loss to Rozenstruik, dos Santos was also finished by Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes. And ‘Cigano’ admits that he made mistakes in both of those fights, but he doesn’t think that was the case with ‘Bigi Boy’.
“It is more frustrating because things were going well and I was feeling great in every aspect of it, so this result made me really upset, you know? Jairzinho has his merits, of course, everybody knows he has heavy hands.
“What happened against Ngannou and Blaydes was that I exposed myself too much, exposed myself to their attacks instead of following the strategy. There was a mistake made, which I don’t think happened in this fight.”
‘Cigano’ wants to fight again “as soon as possible,” but he will take a bit of time to figure out what’s gone wrong recently, and to think about his next move.
“It really bothers me because it’s the third consecutive loss. I know what I’m capable of and I know my skills, I see myself in great shape both technically and physically as an athlete, and not having positive results makes no sense.”
Despite calls to retire from some fans in the MMA community, dos Santos doesn’t see this as an option.
“Like I said, if you follow my training, my day-to-day as the athlete I am, you can’t not be impressed. I take care of myself, I train really hard, the level of competition is high. I just don’t know why [I’m not winning]. We need to work to understand why the result is not happening.
“Maybe there are some tiny mistakes that we aren’t noticing and have to be fixed, and we will work on that. I’m feeling great, so I think it would be a huge waste to consider [retirement] at the moment. Of course, [I lost to] tough athletes, knockout artists, but it’s hard to say now… I plan on moving forward and working hard to get better, and showing that I’m living an excellent moment.”
Who would you like to see Junior dos Santos fight next?