In a recent interview with Brazilian fight magazine, Tatame, UFC heavyweight Junior Dos Santos stated a fight between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin for the interim heavyweight belt is unjust considering Antonio “Minotauro” Noguiera’s position in the division’s pecking order.
“I think it isn’t fair, I think Rodrigo was closer to fight for the belt and that he should dispute, but as MMA don’t follow a ranking we have to move on according to UFC’s decisions,” Dos Santos declared. Just little over a year ago both Frank Mir and Noguiera fought in a clash for the interim heavyweight belt at UFC 98; a fight that saw Mir come out as the victor due to superior stand-up and staph infection Noguiera had been battling leading up to the fight.
Despite his legitimacy issues with the bout between Mir and Carwin, “Cigano” admits both fighters are good contenders and plans on taking advantage of an opportunity to further analyze two fellow heavyweights who could be potential opponents in the future. “It’s gonna be good, two contenders, tops on category, and it’s always good for we to analyze and know the opponents better. It’s gonna be a good fight.”
When asked which fighter he thought would walk away with the belt, Dos Santos continued, “It’s hard… I think it’s gonna be the same with Frank Mir against (Cheick) Kongo. If the fight stands up, Carwin has more chances. I don’t have a favorite.”
The 25-year-old Brazilian prospect has made a splash in the heavyweight division by winning all of his UFC fights against opponents like; Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, and legendary striker Mirko Cro-Cop. In order to keep his perfect UFC record alive Dos Santos (9-1) will have to derail heavy-handed Dutch striker, Gilbert Yvel, at UFC 108 tonight in Las Vegas. Yvel (36-13), who has been a journeyman with a few notable wins throughout his career, was a last minute replacement for Dos Santos’ original opponent, an injured Gabriel Gonzaga.
The sudden change had surprised Dos Santos but with every fight, despite the opponent, he plans on being prepared and willing to do what is required to remain a relevant piece of the heavyweight puzzle.
“I was a little surprised, I was training to fight with Napão [Gonzaga], but, when he had the problem; most of the UFCs heavyweights were sick or with fights set. UFC wanted to hire him [Yvel], so they put him against me. It surprised me, but I never mind about the opponent, I do what I can do, and only be worried about my development. As in every fight, I’ll give my best,” said Dos Santos.
Tonight will prove whether or not the young Brazilian will be able to persevere against the Dutchman who is looking to convince the MMA world that he has finally found a home in the biggest stage the sport has to offer. If everything goes Dos Santos’ way he will improve his overall winning streak to five and will be beckoning at an eventual title shot of his own.
“I’m well prepared. Last Saturday was my last sparring and I’m ready to give a show and, if it’s God’s will, to win.”