Junior dos Santos jumped into the deep end when he accepted a coaching spot opposite Brock Lesnar on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, as he spoke broken English at the time of acceptance and had never been involved with something that would offer him this much exposure to MMA fans and the world in general.
During a recent conference call held in promotion of the show, dos Santos revealed that he looked to Lesnar — a former professional wrestler — for ideas on how to react to being placed in the big spotlight (props to MMAJunkie.com).
“Brock is so used to the media spotlight and being in front of the cameras, and he’s such a … professional guy,” dos Santos said. “(Lesnar is) a serious guy, so it was a great experience for me.”
Dos Santos explained that he is more than happy to star alongside Lesnar, as he is a proven draw and will no doubt increase his own exposure to new fans by proxy.
“Brock is a guy that’s bringing a lot of fans into MMA, (and) he’s a guy that’s very well known in the U.S.,” dos Santos said. “[I’m] a guy who’s starting to come up right now, and this is a great opportunity for all of my fans to be able to see me.”
“Cigano” also relied on his coach/mentor Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for advice on how to best deal with being on the show, as “Big Nog” coached season eight of TUF opposite Frank Mir.
“[Nogueira] said just to act like myself,” dos Santos said of his coach’s advice. “He said the first week will be the most difficult, and then I’m just (going to) get the hang of it, and I felt that’s exactly what happened.”
As for his experience with Lesnar, dos Santos said that he turned out to be “a pretty nice guy” but that “none of that really matters because my goal is to go in there and beat Brock.”
The season premiere of TUF 13 airs tonight at 9PM/8 Central on Spike TV. If you miss it, catch up with our weekly episode recaps, which will be posted shortly after the episodes air.