Top divisional contender Junior dos Santos sat in attendance at UFC 121 this past weekend and watched Cain Velasquez dismantle then-champ Brock Lesnar in four minutes on his way to becoming the UFC’s new heavyweight title-holder. However, rather than dismiss Lesnar’s skills to cheapen the victory or express a hint of intimidation at Velasquez’s showing, the 26-year old described the bout as “beautiful”.
The hard-hitting Brazilian recently spoke to Tatame and offered his take on the championship clash, as well as how he feels about Velasquez as both a peer and future opponent.
“It was a very exciting fight to watch – I was there and it was beautiful to see,” said Dos Santos. “But, in my opinion, (Lesnar) got tired. Velasquez was smart enough and showed superiority…was calm enough to wait for the right moment and chance the picture and win by TKO.”
Dos Santos continued by stating his relative shock at Lesnar’s decision to rush Velasquez rather than set a pace more suited to a title-bout’s structure. “I was surprised, everybody was,” he began. “A title fight usually has a very cautious beginning, it’s a five-round fight, and so you start being careful so that you won’t get tired. I think (Brock) tried to really go for it, he knew that Velasquez’s conditioning was amazing. He did a great beginning, took him down and applied a flying knee, but I think he got tired.”
The 12-1 striker also acknowledged the stiff challenge he’ll face when he squares off against Velasquez in the near future in hopes of winning promotional gold, and went so far as to mention his belief the undefeated Latino is the number one heavyweight in the sport.
“I’ve met Velasquez and congratulated him. He deserves to be known as the number one today.”
However, just because he feels the American Kickboxing Academy star is #1 doesn’t mean he won’t be ready to take his place atop the division when they fight. “…he deserves, but I’ll give my best, even a little more than that, to take his belt away and bring it to Brazil on my waist,” he explained. “I’m coming back to Bahia, I’ll keep (training) and soon, when I know about the fight’s date, I’ll go to the United States to do my camp. I have wrestling guys there to help me…I have to train hard to get this belt.”
Dos Santos will enter his match-up with Velasquez having won his last seven fights including finishing performances against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Fabricio Werdum. He most recently defeated Roy Nelson at UFC 117 in August via unanimous decision.
PHOTO CREDIT – ESPN