Junior dos Santos has been teased with a title shot since Cain Velasquez won the belt by defeating Brock Lesnar back in October of 2010 at UFC 121.
After the dust had settled from that event and dos Santos was named the next number one contender, it was announced that Velasquez had injured his shoulder and would need to undergo surgery that would keep him out of action for the majority of the rest of the year. Not wanting to sit on the shelf, dos Santos took a coaching spot on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Brock Lesnar with the agreement in place that the two would fight for number one contendership after the show.
However, Lesnar was again beset by the intestinal ailment diverticulitis, pulling him out of that proposed fight. In stepped Shane Carwin, who took a thorough beating at dos Santos’ hands, bringing Cigano around full circle and back into the contender’s spot which he had never given up.
Now, dos Santos is preparing to face Velasquez in the UFC’s biggest show ever: it’s network debut on FOX. There will be an entire hour of live broadcast on the channel dedicated almost solely to Velasquez vs. dos Santos and both men are pumped up, not only for that, but also to face the biggest challenge in their respective careers.
“I see a tough fight ahead for both of us,” dos Santos recently told Heavy.com. “I am sure we will each be each others biggest challenge to date. He’ll be looking to take me down and pound me, and I’ll be looking to knock him out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if Cain takes me down 10 times, I will get up 10 times. But if I land 10 punches, I’m not sure I see Cain getting back up.”
Though Velasquez has been on the shelf, dos Santos doesn’t see the layoff impacting his performance much and is preparing himself the best he can to face off against the top heavyweight in the world.
“Cain is a tremendous athlete, and a great fighter,” he said. “I doubt he’s been twiddling his thumbs the whole past year. He strikes me as a guy who probably made his way back to training as soon as he was cleared, and there is no question he will be as ready as me on November 12. He’s a professional fighter with a huge opportunity in front of him, just like me. I have no doubt he will be giving his best, as I will be giving my best. I will be fighting the #1 UFC heavyweight title-holder; I assume he will be bringing his A game, and I will be there with my A game to get my belt.”
Velasquez and dos Santos will square off at UFC on FOX 1 this November 12 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.