UFC: Thiago Santos Eyeing A Title Fight With Or Without Jon Jones

The number two ranked UFC light heavyweight Thiago Santos has his eye on a title shot. The Brazilian is coming off a loss to the current champion Jon Jones at UFC 239, where he lost by split decision. Since then, ‘Bones’ has defended his title one more time, against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247.

Speaking to MMA Fighting, Santos stated that he and Reyes should fight for the interim title, following the champion’s recent DWI charge.

“I suggested this fight with Reyes in case [Jones] steps away to get treatment, like he said. I don’t think the division needs to wait. The division can go on, even if it’s for an interim belt between Reyes and I, since we both are next in line. Fans were already talking about this fight even before this Jones situation happened, and I said I was willing to fight Reyes, and then Jones fights the winner when he returns.”

Santos showed some compassion for Jones, after he said that he has a problem with alcohol.

“It’s unfortunate – it’s sad,” Santos said. “I never hid that I’m a fan of the guy even before we fought, and that hasn’t changed. Unfortunately he has those problems with alcohol, he posted a statement about it, and those are problems he has to fix. You can’t overlook that, but also can’t throw rocks at him. It’s only up to him. We hope he solves that problem with alcohol and recovers.”

That being said, he was indifferent when asked whether the UFC should strip Jones of his title, as they did in 2015 after he was arrested for a hit-and-run, involving a pregnant woman.

“It’s UFC’s decision,” Santos said. “I’m here to fight if they need and call me.”

In this case Jones got four days of house arrest and one year of probation, with 48 hours of community service, and a $500 fine. In addition to that, he has to install a device in his car, which prevents it from starting in the case that the driver is under the influence. Many think that’s not enough, but Santos doesn’t care all that much.

“Not that he deserves [more], or that I wanted him to be punished,” Santos said. “That’s his life, but laws usually are more severe in the U.S. than in Brazil, so that’s why it surprised me. But I don’t care about that. I just raised my hand and volunteered to fight. If there’s a fight to be made, I think I deserve it. And I’m ready.”

Santos suffered a torn left LCL, PCL, MCL, meniscus and cracked tibia and partially tore his right ACL, in his fight with Jones. All of which required surgery and a significant recovery period. After the situation with coronavirus is over, ‘Marreta’ says he would like to fight Reyes.

“I think it would be a great fight, belt or not,” Santos said. “[Reyes is] a great fighter. He surprised me last time against Jones, he was aggressive and went for it. He showed the great fighter he is, and I love facing challenges. He’s a young, fearless guy that comes forward, and that would be a great fight.”

Reyes was 12-0 going into his fight with Jones at UFC 247. Speaking to FanSided, the number one ranked light heavyweight said he still believes he won that fight.

“I still know I was the better fighter that night,” Reyes said. “I want a rematch, but if he is out of the picture, I feel I have earned another title shot.”

In that regard, Reyes is staying ready despite the current coronavirus pandemic.

“Well, it hasn’t really impacted my training regime because most of my training is private as a championship contender,” he said. “It also helps that I have my own facilities.”

With the number five ranked Jan Blachowicz calling for a title fight as well, the situation at the top of the UFC light heavyweight division looks uncertain.

With Thiago Santos, Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz all vying for the next shot at the title, with or without Jon Jones, who do you think should fight for the UFC light heavyweight title next?

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