Junior dos Santos jumped into the deep end when he accepted a coaching spot opposite former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter after his championship bout with Cain Velasquez fell through due to an injury suffered by the champion. On the most recent edition of MMA Junkie Radio, dos Santos talked about what led to him getting the coaching gig.
“It was a little bit of a surprise for me,” said Dos Santos. “When my manager told me Cain Velasquez couldn’t [take] the fight against me, I asked for another fight. The UFC invited me to coach ‘TUF,’ and I accepted right away.”
Lesnar came onto the scene and earned the title in his third UFC fight with a dominating victory over legend and UFC Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture at UFC 91. A 2000 NCAA Division I national champion wrestler at the University of Minnesota, the 33-year-old has parlayed an impressive amateur wrestling career into a successful mixed martial arts one. With stoppage wins over Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin, Lesnar is dangerous for any opponent and is focused on earning the UFC heavyweight title once again. Despite Lesnar’s impressive credentials, dos Santos said that he accepted the fight on the spot.
“When they give me that fight against Brock Lesnar, I was happy,” he said. “Because, I’m a fighter, and I fight. That’s what I do to live, and I needed to fight, so it doesn’t matter who’s going to be my opponent. I’m ready to fight right now, and I’m ready to fight always.”
As for his experience with Lesnar, dos Santos noted that he didn’t get to spend much time with the former champion.
“I didn’t see Brock a lot in the house, just sometimes,” Dos Santos said. “He’s a very serious guy, and I don’t care about that now. What matters for me now is to beat him.”
dos Santos believes that Lesnar is just an obstacle in his quest to donning UFC gold.
“I know I can beat Brock, and I will be the next [UFC] heavyweight champion.”
Lesnar and dos Santos are set to meet at UFC 131 on June 11 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.