You can't blame Junior dos Santos for probably feeling a tad annoyed. After all, he's had his opponent changed twice now. He was originally supposed to get a shot at UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, but Cain blew out his shoulder. Then he was given a coaching spot on The Ultimate Fighter and a number-one contender's matchup with Brock Lesnar. And that went down in flames due to Brock's stomach ailment. Now it will be Shane Carwin standing across the cage from him at UFC 131. Tatame talked to dos Santos about the whole situation, and Cigano was classy and respectful towards everyone involved:
Your opponent has been replaced again. How do you deal with this in your mind?
I’m much focused. I’ve been training hard for two months now, there’s almost a month left before the bout, and I’m doing just fine. I’m on a great patch in my life, thanks’ God, I’m feeling fine and I want to fight. I don’t fight for a long time. Last time I fought it was August of 2010, and I’m fine. I’m just not fighting because of the problems my opponents are facing. Of course it brings us some problems, but I believe that God makes things happens on their own time, and now I’ll be ready to go for this one and, God help me, I’ll win.
You’ve said before that you fight anyone they tell you to, but they keep changing your opponent… Before you’d fight for the belt, then came Lesnar and now Carwin…
Honestly, I’m happy that they didn’t chance the date that I’ll fight in, that they didn’t postpone it. The bout will still happen on the 11th. They’ve changed my opponent, but I’m still fighting. I’m a fighter, I need to fight, I live for fighting, I need it to be in shape. It’s not nice. I was preparing myself to fight Velasquez, and he got injured. Now Brock Lesnar is sick too, so… I’m not upset, I’m believing in myself a lot, and I’m sure I’ll put on a great show up there.
And then it was onto his new opponent, Shane Carwin:
Shane Carwin went through a hard time while facing Napao, beat the hell out of Lesnar, but he ran out of gas… What do you think of him as an opponent? What danger can he bring you?
He’s very dangerous and, as Lesnar, he’s almost 120kg, they’re the heaviest guys, so they are pretty strong, it may be a problem. But I believe in myself. I train a lot… He’s much dangerous, has super heavy hands, good Boxing skills, but I’ll bet on my speed and my Boxing. I go for the knockout every time I fight, and it won’t be any different this time. I’ll go for the knockout again. I was training to fight Brock Lesnar, much takedown defense and offensive takedowns too, and my Jiu-Jitsu. So, I’m feeling fine. I may surprise you all on this bout, maybe with a submission, or something like that. I’m feeling fine, and that’s what matters most.
Finally, he talks about how he has to switch things up a bit for Carwin as opposed to Lesnar:
The trainings and the game plan won’t be changed?
The trainings will be the same I was already doing, but surely the game plan changes a bit. Against Brock Lesnar I could let myself go more while striking, I could use it in my favor more than I can do with Shane Carwin, because I’ll have to be careful on that matter. I know God wants it, and I’ll get this win.
With UFC 131 less than a month away, let's just hope that both contestants are able to stay healthy and make in into the cage so they can do battle in Vancouver.