Called on to challenge UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Junior “Cigano” dos Santos saw his hopes dashed when his opponent pulled out injured. UFC president Dana White had a good solution for the problem, though. Cigano is now the coach of the next season of the The Ultimate Fighter reality show, putting him up against former champion Brock Lesnar.
And the challenge has become all the greater, seeing as the Brazilian admits his English is not exactly up to par – although he does guarantee he will be able to handle his own on the show.
“I’m nervous! My manager called me, said he wanted to put me in the UFC house, and I told him about the language problem. He replied: ‘If they’re not worried about it, why would you be?’ That made me more confident and I agreed to it,” Cigano told GRACIEMAG.com.
One who provided all the support he could was Rodrigo Minotauro, who has already had the experience.
“Rodrigo did the show with Frank Mir and told me it’s a good thing to do, that there my life will be divided into pre-TUF and pro-TUF, that that will be clear in my life. I was really stoked!”
Out Velasquez, in Brock Lesnar, an opponent of extraordinary strength.
“It’s the fight that came about to prove, once and for all, that I deserve a shot at the belt. I have to be calm, prudent, and fight him intelligently. I have to keep on my toes not to let myself fall into his game,” he assays.
As is the rule on the reality show, there should be plenty of provocation. Cigano is ready.
“I feel that’s part of it and I’ll even like it. If I understand what he says, I may even have a comeback for him! Truth is, whatever happens in the house will be settled in the octagon, that’s for sure!” he says in closing.