After more than a year in the sidelines, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos has now gotten his career back on track. His first assignment is a headliner fight against Blagoy Ivanov, which headlines the UFC’s upcoming debut event in Boise, Idaho.
If he does get past the former WSOF heavyweight champion, “Cigano” rightfully wants to be back in the conversation for the next title challenger. To get there, he wants to get back his most recent loss to fellow former champion Stipe Miocic in a possible trilogy fight.
“When you become the champion, you become a target,” Dos Santos said in a pre-fight interview with MMA Junkie. “Now, the new target for the heavyweight division is Daniel Cormier. Everybody, of course, wants to fight him, including me. And eventually, at some point, it’s going to happen. But the division is living a good moment. I want to do this third fight with Miocic, too.”
“That could be a good fight for one of these shows. There are many good fights. The heavyweight division is living a good moment and we can give the fans a lot of excitement.”
Facing Ivanov is a tall first task for the returning Dos Santos, but the veteran Brazilian fighter is simply content that he is able to do what he loves once again.
“I love this sport. I love who I am,” he said. “To be here, to be Junior dos Santos, for me – I can’t see myself doing anything else right now. I’m 34 years old, young.”
UFC Boise takes place this Saturday, July 14th. It will be co-headlined by a welterweight fight between Sage Northcutt and Zak Ottow.