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Junior dos Santos: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

In case you tuned in late on Saturday night and only saw Dana White criticizing the game plan of Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos defeated Velasquez in a few ticks north of a minute to capture the UFC heavyweight title.

The victory was Dos Santos’ eighth win in the octagon, with six coming by stoppage due to strikes.

JDS is a knockout artist and now the best heavyweight in the world. It’s a shame that the UFC president didn’t hype him up as such after his 64-second knockout in front of the largest UFC audience ever.

The Brazilian champion is like the MMA version of Mike Tyson, except that he hasn’t faltered against top competition. See, while Tyson knocked out cans but lost to good fighters like Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, “Cigano” has had nothing but tough fights in the UFC and has passed with flying colors.

Fabricio Werdum was one win away from a heavyweight title shot. JDS was a +500 underdog. JDS knocked him out cold with an uppercut. Stefan Struve is the tallest fighter in the UFC and has competed in professional kickboxing. JDS swarmed on him and stopped him with strikes in under a minute. Mirko Filipovic is a MMA legend and one of the most feared strikers in MMA history. JDS beat him up for twelve minutes before “Cro Cop” decided that he wanted no more. Gilbert Yvel, while not a great fighter, is a dangerous striker with a ton of power. JDS put him away with a beautiful left hook. Gabriel Gonzaga was a former title contender who had fought plenty of top guys. JDS starched him in under four minutes. Roy Nelson is a well-rounded veteran and one of the toughest guys in the sport. JDS beat him on him from start to finish. Shane Carwin is a powerful wrestler with crazy power. JDS turned his face into hamburger meat for three rounds. Velasquez was undefeated and considered the best heavyweight in the world. JDS knocked him clean out.

Point out the flaws of his competition all you want, but he beat the guys put in front of him and did so in impressive fashion every single time. He hasn’t lost a single round in eight UFC fights.

So far, the only knock against him is that his conditioning might be questionable just because he finishes guys so quickly and looked a bit tired from kicking so much ass for the duration of the bout. People question his ground game, but when he’s been put on his back, he’s immediately gotten to his feet.

The way people talk about JDS reminds me of the way people talked about Chuck Liddell when he was the top light heavyweight in the UFC. “You have to drag Chuck into deep waters and really test his conditioning.” That’s pretty tough to do when Chuck knocked you out in the first round and beat you up so bad that your conditioning was worse than his by the time the fight got into the championship rounds. “You have to get Chuck on his back and make him uncomfortable.” That’s pretty tough to do when every time you go for a takedown Chuck made you pay with strikes or immediately popped up to his feet if you got him down.

Right now the holes in Dos Santos’ game are hypothetical, because no one has proved they exist. And even if they do exist, if you’re unconscious before you get a chance to expose them, then what good does it do you to know them?

UFC did Dos Santos a huge disservice on Saturday night. First with Joe Rogan calling him a “throwback to the old UFC days” like JDS is some one-dimensional puncher who can’t do anything else and then Dana immediately talking about Velasquez’s mistakes instead of crediting JDS. In fact, Dana didn’t once credit his new heavyweight champion in the post-fight broadcast instead focusing only on what Cain did wrong and even questioning the cardio of JDS.

“Cigano” is without a doubt the best heavyweight on the planet. He’s beaten all challengers put in front of him, he’s fought injured, he’s fought tired, he’s fought when he didn’t need to, and he’s never lost a single round in the organization.

He’s the most feared striker in the heavyweight division with his technical ability, his timing, and his knockout power. Everyone who has stood with him has gotten beat up. Dos Santos deserves all the credit in the world for what he did on Saturday night. He fought The Terminator and he reprogrammed him. He fought Machete and he got the job done. Not even Steven Seagal could do that.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

18 COMMENTS
  • Well said well said. I think you’re takin Rogan’s throwback comment out of context though. I had the same reaction you did until he explained it in more detail.
    “He’s like a throwback, he’s excellent at one thing and he uses the other things to set up his punching.”
    Meaning we havent seen his ground game, we’ve never had to. We could probably count the number of kicks he’s thrown in the UFC on one hand. Rogan also stated, “Everyone knows what Junior’s game plan is, rather than let his opponent try to figure out his gameplan he just lets them try to stop it.” or something along those lines. Its no question what Junior will do once the bell sounds, he’s going to throw jabs to the body, uppercuts from way outside and other dazzling arrays of punches until you fall down. The Chuck Liddell comparison is extremely apt.
    I do agree though, Dana could’ve mentioned his new champion with a little more fanfare.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    The Mike Tyson comparison does not hold water. Tyson lost to lesser fighters after wasting his prime in jail. The only bad loss on his record was to Buster Douglas, and there were a lot of reasons for that — Tyson’s partying, and I seem to recall he may have even had pneumonia in the fight.

    Otherwise speaking, good article. But Dos Santos is nowhere near a peer of Mike Tyson, unless he too does a solid Herman Cain impression.

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  • edub says:

    Tyson also built his record on LHWs and also rans in the HW division. JDS has already matched or past the amount of top ten opponents he’s demolished compared to Tyson’s prime (pre jail).

    Tyson’s aura of invinciblity and violence are what made him iconic. It will probably never be matched by another athlete in combat sports. I mean Anderson is damn close, but his popularity and drawing power are miniscule compared to a prime tyson.

    There’s a reason most experts barely consider Tyson an all-time top ten HW.

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  • Creature says:

    I agree with superdave on the comment by Rogan, he didnt mean any disrespect and was complimenting JDS, as soon as he explained what he meant by “throwback” and calling him the modern Chuck Liddell is one heck of a compliment if you ask me lol.

    I think Dana was mad JDS won honestly, he talked a lot to hype Cain, and its obvious he expected him to get the W. But when Cain lost it kinda made Dana look bad, and also was disappointing that the fight was so short. This was supposed to be the fight that draws in tons of new fans, was extremely hyped to be one hell of a war, and it only lasted a minute lol wasted the hour long time spot, and with how exciting Bendo/Guida was im thinking Dana was mad he didnt get that fight on TV.

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  • I know this is only mildly on topic…but I just watched the fight again and wanted to know….did Dana White not see Cain attempt that takedown off of JDS’s teep kick? Or for that matter did half the world? I’ve looked at a couple other forums and everyone is completely criticizing Cain just like DW….but he did shoot..he just missed.

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  • I still think Rogan’s comment had no place in the broadcast. He could have, and should have, used a better choice of words. He did credit JDS’ takedown defense but said, “He’s a throwback to the old days of MMA. He’s amazing at one thing. He is a striker.”

    I don’t see the issue with my Tyson comparison. They both KO guys quickly, except that JDS is actually beating good fighters while Tyson was beating cans, which is what I said. The only way I compared them is with their quick KO’s and even credited JDS over Tyson.

    Thanks for the comments guys.

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  • edub says:

    My comment was more towards Faust.

    Comparisons to Tyson carries heat man. Just check out how many comments came out when Snowden panned Rogan for relating Jon Jones to Tyson about a year back on bloody elbow.

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  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    JDS deserves all the props-regardless of how Cain showed up-JDS deserves the championship hands down

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    Tyson will always be a case of who-knows-what-coulda-been. There are plausible arguments both for & against his actual level of greatness. In my view, it’s a minor miracle he even reached the level he did considering his background and the course it put him on to becoming an unrestrained mess of a human being. It’s amazing he made it off the streets, and into the reform school that bought some time so he could later get hooked up with Cus.

    And thank God Cus was able to rein him in for a while, and delay his path to prison. It was a hell of a fun while it lasted. Tyson wasn’t just a bull in the cage. He was really quick on his feet, with under-appreciated movement that allowed him to so easily get inside to unleash hell on opponents. Sure it wasn’t a golden age for HW boxing, but Tyson was an absolute force.

    I don’t think his personality and self-discipline would’ve been able to handle the fame & discipline anyway, but Cus’ passing accelerated the process. It was a pretty rapid descent from there… the celeb marriage that was nothing but turmoil, his firing of Rooney (which seemed to be his only remaining boxing stability), while the promoters were starting to sink their hooks in deeper to his boxing career, him firing Rooney (and his last real boxing stability)… things were unraveling, and for a guy like Tyson it was only a matter of time before he’d crack. The Douglas fight was the first glimpse. Whether it was physical, mental or both, that clearly wasn’t the same fighter at his previous dominant peak. And then the rape arrest & eventual conviction. Going to prison for the 2nd half of his 20s sapped his career of those remaining peak years that could have allowed him to further build his legacy & better establish his true level of greatness, but again I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made even if he’d been acquitted or never charged in the first place. His training had already started eroding well before that, and he just didn’t have the discipline on his own nor the support structure around him after parting ways with Cus and Rooney.

    I do think his peak greatness was absolutely legit. I’m a baseball fan and the comparison I’d make is Sandy Koufax — both with almost unparalleled peak greatness, but a relatively short window that would abruptly close (albeit for very different reasons & circumstances).

    And to get back to the actual topic at hand, JDS’s results certainly speak for themselves. I don’t expect he’ll stay at the top of the mountain very long, which has become natural with the HW division, but in the meantime he’s clearly the top guy and that’s all that matters until someone can beat him. His next matchup against either Brock or Overeem will be really interesting, in different ways. But like Carwin blogged the other day, my bet is Cain will recapture the belt sooner than later. Like GSP found out earlier, those behind-the-ear shots are a sumbitch. But I still think Cain’s got the best skill set that is both well-rounded and dominant, and will bounce back in a big way.

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  • I agree with your Tyson assessment Jeremy, I just think you took the first words from Rogans comment(which btw infuriated me as well until he added the whole JDS uses his TDD and whatnot to set up his striking) and made it sound harsher. its understandible.

    I also agree with Rich in the fact that Cain will bounce back in a big way, the next matchup on Cain’s radar is either Carwin(eh touchy due to injury) or Roy. If he fights Roy I think we’ll see the Velasquez that comes flying out of the corner shooting for takedowns which is well deserved because he’s not knocking out Roy. and if he gets too hesitant Roy’s big right hand will find Cain’s head again and Cain’s stock will drop in a big way.
    Good discussion all.

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    If Cain is healthy and wants to get back in the cage, I think they’ll set up the Kongo rematch (that first fight was a wham banger), whose last 4 fights consist of 3 wins sandwiched around a draw. I like Carwin but between age & injury, which unfortunately sneak up on a guy at that stage of his career in a damn hurry, I think he’s done as far as top contender. And beating Roy wouldn’t really be the springboard back to a title fight for Cain that he (and likely the UFC brass) wants.

    But I’m not sure Cain or JDS was healthy going into Saturday’s fight. That’s what I was afraid of beforehand, since the stakes were so high for each of them (combined with the UFC’s lack of backup plan) that pulling out of the fight was an absolute last resort. So if Cain needs to be on the shelf for a while, then his next fight becomes harder to predict depending how the timing works out. Maybe the loser of Brock-Overeem.

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  • Niv says:

    I agree with this article wholeheartedly, you nailed it with Dana White and Mike Tyson. Dana White was bush league and let his anger and bias get in the way of hyping and praising his new champ. JDS is deserving of the hype and any newcomers watching on Fox probably went away saying apparently by the sounds of things this new champ got lucky, not cool at all.

    As a guy old enough to have watched Ali fighgt live in the 70’s I have always said that Tyson would have been just another good fighter in that era. I doubt Tyson would have been able to stand with George Forman in his prime, and there’s no way he would have beaten Ali in his prime.

    I like everybody else watched Tyson with amazement, and he was a very different fighter when his trainer Cus Damato was still alive, but after his death he fell under the influence of Don King (Satan himself), and his head wasn’t the same.

    Tyson showed some amazing speed and power, but again fell short when he fought higher calibre fighters like Evander Holyfield. If you’re making Tyson’s prison stint the excuse you must’ve forgotten that he regained his title and Evander Holyfield came in at 34 years old and was reputed to be washed up, so that doesn’t hold water with me anyways.

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  • MCM says:

    I missed the entire show on Fox (yes, I’m a horrible fan), but from what I’ve read and the videos I’ve seen, I don’t understand what the big deal is. Did Joe Rogan say something that might not be totally accurate? Of course he did, he’s Joe Rogan. He’s easily one of the most biased commentators in sports. As for Dana and his biases, people forget that as much as Dana is the head of the biggest MMA org in the world, he’s also a huge fan. In fact, he may be the biggest MMA fan on the planet. Should he learn to be a little less biased right after the fights? Sure, as the head of the UFC it’s his job. But with all the owner disputes and player walk outs that have happened in other sports this year, I kinda find it refreshing when I see the guy running the sport is just as passionate about it as I am.

    Love the Chuck reference too. It’s not only a perfectly apt comparison, but it reminds us of how truly great the Ice Man was before his decline.

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  • Niv says:

    MCM I get what you’re saying, but when you take into account that this was supposed to be the Fox debut that gives a whole new fan base a look at something new to them, Dana White’s commentary is a failure.

    He needs to keep in mind that he needs to appear unbiased as a CEO of a large organization like his. It does his co. and his fighters a disservice if he discredits a new champ by spouting off about what went wrong, as opposed to what went right and celebrating the new champs accomplishment.

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  • Creature says:

    I think Rogans comment was just fine, what he said sums up JDS pretty well honestly. He is a striker no doubt about it, he is amazing at it no question at all lol. I dont think saying someone is amazing at one thing is bad what so ever. He good in all areas but uses his striking to dominate, and compared him to a more well rounded Cain who is really good at everything, but doesnt have that one skill he excels at beyond all others.

    I think it was a perfect sum up of each fighters skill set, isnt that what a commenter is supposed to do? :)

    Just my opinion though

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  • edub says:

    What Dana said after the event holds little weight with viewers because so few stuck around to see it. You guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill here. Yes, what Dana said was stupid and hundreds of people have been saying he should be reigned in online for years, but to act like casual viewers came away from the event with Dana white speaking in their minds is ludicrous. A fraction of the people who watched the fight were still watching the show, and a fraction of that fraction watched the press conference when the real stupidity started.

    Everybody in our little MMA bubble has to remember, the way we see things and the way casual fans see things is completely different. And a big part of that difference is the amount of time viewing events an other related material.

    As a boxing fan we’ll never know how great Tyson could have been, he did lose to Holyfield twice after his jail stint but Evander was also linked with Victor Conte/Balco on multiple occasions (so we really don’t know how enhanced he was later in his career). And the fact that referees pretty much let Holyfield head butt his opponents in to submission will always leave a bad taste in my mouth. I think Ali was good enough to beat him, I think Foreman would have been a bad style match up; but we’ll just never know. I could also see him busting Ali up like Frazier did, and blasting Foreman early becuase of the speed advantage. Its funny because if you look throughout history how a referee handled a fight has such a big impact on the result (just look at the difference between Ali-Frazier 2 and the Thrilla in Manilla).

    This just gave me an idea of an all-time HW tourney.

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  • edub says:

    Creature- Good points.

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  • Niv says:

    edub with all due respect have you seen the figures for the Fox audience? Apparently it was the most viewed fight in histroy on tv. The peak audience for the fight was 8.8 million smashing the previous record of just over 6 million for Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson.

    We can’t assume that everyone just instantly turned off their tv’s and brains for that matter when it comes to comments made by the CEO.

    Dana White needs to reign himself in a bit andf understand that what he says in this new forum can have a detrimental affect.

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