Junior dos Santos’ manager Ed Soares was almost as disappointed as “Cigano” to learn that his proposed title shot against champ Cain Velasquez had to be indefinitely postponed while Velasquez recovers from recent shoulder surgery. Their disappointment didn’t last long though, as they were approached shortly after they were informed of Velasquez’s surgery with the opportunity to coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite former champion Brock Lesnar. Soares spoke with MMAWeekly.com recently about his client’s decision to put at risk his title shot with Velasquez by facing Lesnar after this season of TUF airs.
“Dana called on New Year’s Day. A few days earlier it was announced that Cain was injured. He said it was up to Junior, does he want to sit and wait for Cain or does he want to fight. Junior said no, he wants to stay busy,” Soares explained.
Soares told MMAWeekly.com that he and dos Santos obviously would have preferred a title shot over any other bout, but that the coaching spot on TUF may end up being better for “Cigano’s” overall career.
“Our first choice, and he rightfully deserves it, was to fight for the title, but considering that couldn’t happen, I think this is the next best thing that could have happened for his career,” said Soares. “And in the long run, it might be a better path. To get the exposure that they’re going to get on The Ultimate Fighter and then to fight a guy like Brock Lesnar, who is such a huge draw, I think it’s a pretty good solution to the problem.”
As Soares told MMAWeekly, it’s a blessing that Dana White and company were able to put together such a lucrative and intriguing opportunity for dos Santos, because the young Brazilian would have ended up taking a fight in the interim anyway, regardless of the bout’s profile.
“I think it’s important for fighters to stay busy and keep fighting, that’s how they make they’re money. Unfortunately, some of these fighters, they still make most of their money from the fight purse; it’s not with sponsorship,” he said. “You’ve got to fight to stay alive, he’s got to pay his bills. His last fight was in August and who knows when Cain would have been able to be back and fight. I think (Dos Santos) needs to stay sharp and he’s gotta not have any ring rust.”
Do you think dos Santos made the right choice in possibly sacrificing a title shot in order to expose himself to more fans and eventually face Brock Lesnar? Discuss in the comments section below.