The new UFC heavyweight champion Junior “Cigano” dos Santos is having magical days on his return to Brazil.
Besides the pain in the meniscus, and concerns about whether or not having a knee operation done, the fighter who made his living as a waiter when he began to practice boxing, continues reaping the laurels of victory, but without forgetting his next mission: not to let the belt slip off his waist.
The heavyweight class is by far the division with the biggest number of champions in the UFC. There were already 16 champions – alternating among beasts such as Mark Coleman, Bas Rutten, Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Frank Mir, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez.
“I’ll only defend my title when I’m feeling well. UFC is very comprehensive about injuries. Dana White (UFC president) even wanted me to stay in the U.S. for a treatment, but I told her I wanted to come back and solve the issue here. I’ll only come back when I’m 100%”, said Cigano yesterday, during a sponsor’s press conference, in São Paulo.
For his coach, Luiz Dórea, this alternation in the heavyweight division is easy to explain:
“Besides the fighter’s high level, there is a preponderance of the blows. When a blow gets on the target, it practically ends the fight, or the guy gets groggy. Cigano wants to end this situation and keep the belt for a long time. He’s young, and he knows he’s still getting better each day”, the coach says by phone, from São Paulo, before returning to Bahia and then going to Belém, where he should help to sharpen Lyoto Machida’s hands for Jon Jones’s fight.
“And Cigano has an essential feature to stop this title alternation: humbleness. Like I say, there can’t be a peak in a fighter’s career. He can’t think he’s at the top, he has to seek progress every day. Junior is just like that”, explains Dórea,
About the punch that gave the title to Dos Santos, Dorea speaks calmly.
“It’s really a hard punch for a layperson, the hand breaks. But not for the him, who trains for a long time and improves this kind of cross every day at our gym. He trains boxing from Monday to Saturday, and his practice always begins or ends with boxing. For this reason, his hand is OK after the blow”, said Dórea.
Also Yesterday, Chael Sonnen accepted, via Twitter, Anderson Silva’s challange to fight in Brazil. As Anderson is still recovering from shoulder pain and isn’t training hard, the fight must be after January, when the UFC Rio 142 happens. The rematch might be in June, at the TUF finals, in São Paulo. Chael will probably coach new TUF in US, on Fox channel.
If the dispute of the middleweight title is at Morumbi, São Paulo FC’s stadium, as speculated, the show for soccer fans is also ready: Anderson will enter with a Corinthians jersey on and Chael Sonnen confirmed that will wear a Palmeiras one, just to tease. The directors of Palmeiras, main rival of Anderson’s team, have already sent Sonnen a kit with shirt and material on the history of the club.