Junior Cigano defeated Shane Carwin at UFC 131 last Saturday in Canada, becoming first in line for a shot at Cain Velasquez’s belt. In the statements below, the challenger to the heavyweight throne addresses his last fight, the hits, misses, and, of course, his next challenge: Cain Velasquez.
Cigano came close to getting the knockout in the first round, but in the subsequent rounds he maintained control of the action and played it safe.
“I take all my fights seriously, but this one was really important to me because there was a lot at stake. I got a bit nervous, but that was to be expected.”
“I tried putting him away in the first round but, as he’s said himself, he has a hard chin.”
“I threw a lot of jabs because I felt it was safer, it would keep me at a safe distance from him. Shane hits hard and I have to respect that.”
A lot of fans and commentators on the broadcast felt the ref should have stopped the fight in the first round, when Carwin took a barrage of punches. Cigano even looked to the ref to see what his decision would be. Referee Herb Dean allowed the action to continue. Shane stood up and fought till the end. Dana White, the president of the UFC, praised the decision to allow the run of play.
“I was prepared to fight three rounds. If the ref had stopped the fight, ok. But Shane’s a tough guy and I feel it was a good fight.”
“There, I was getting tired from hitting him so much, so I looked at him like, “Hey, stop the fight” (laughs)! And he said, “Keep going, keep going.” Shane defended well and I feel the referee made the right decision. Shane got up and continued to fight.”
At the same moment Cigano was close to getting the knockout, he also risked trying a choke, as his opponent was on all fours. Was the hold poorly placed and ended up slipping out?
“I tried to finish him but didn’t have the hooks in. It was kind of slippery because of the Vaseline and I didn’t want to risk being on bottom against a guy that size, so I ended up letting go.”
“I have a good ground game. I train in that with a lot of tough guys. I know I’m know Demian Maia or Rodrigo Minotauro, but I’m tough on the ground too.”
“However, my focus will always be boxing. That’s what got me here, so that’s my priority. But I’m going to keep up to date in the other arts.”
Now the heavyweight will get a shot at the title against Cain Velasquez
“I feel my big challenge is yet to come, because Cain Velasquez is the champ. He’s proven how good he is, but I’ll be ready for him.”
“Cain’s best facet is his physical conditioning, his endurance, not to mention he’s a great wrestler. I have to train a lot. I’m learning wrestling really quickly and will try and defend his takedowns to use my boxing. I go for the knockout the whole time and it will be no different against him.”