If you thought Junior dos Santos was nearing the end of his career, think again.
Not only does the former UFC heavyweight champion plan to KO Cameroonian powerhouse Francis Ngannou at UFC on ESPN 3, but ‘Cigano’ is poised on reclaiming the heavyweight throne and then challenging heavy-hitting knockout artist Deontay Wilder in a boxing match.
Dos Santos outlined his plans to MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin ahead of Saturday’s highly anticipated heavyweight bout against ‘The Predator’.
“I believe I have more skills than him. I have better boxing. I know he was talking about even fighting in boxing,” dos Santos said. “This could be a good chance for him to have a boxing fight because I’m not going away from the standup game with him. I’m ready to stand up and bang against him. I hope he’s ready for that, too. Because I’m sure the fans will love it. I can knock anyone out in this division and Ngannou is going to be the next guy. I even have enough boxing to beat boxing champions. I will do everything to win and then move onto the title shot.
“Back when I was the champion in 2012, I challenged Wladimir Klitschko, he was the champion at that time, and I said I would beat Wladimir Klitschko in a boxing match but of course I’m not a good promoter like Conor McGregor and he got the fight against [Floyd] Mayweather. Klitschko actually replied to me, he said anytime, anywhere, something like that. But then I lost my belt, I lost the fight to Velasquez and I lost the belt so it didn’t make much sense anymore to promote that fight.
“Now my biggest goal is to go back, fight for the title in the UFC, take the belt back and then start promoting a fight against one of the boxing champions. I think and I already have this idea in my mind who it could be. It could be Deontay Wilder because everything I see about Deontay, he’s a great champion, he knocks everybody out and he doesn’t run away from a good match,” dos Santos said. “He accepts all the matches. Some of the guys pick fights but this guy is not picking fights. He’s fighting everybody. So I think if we have a good match and we are able to make people want to see that fight and there’s a chance it could happen.
“I’ve been watching him for a long time. I actually admire him. His boxing skills are different but I think that’s the perfect match for me. I can see many, many holes in his game. Can you imagine I’m not worrying about no takedowns, no kicks, no jiu-jitsu, only boxing. That would be paradise for me.”
Wilder, who fought Tyson Fury to a draw in a Fight of the Night classic at Barclays Center, New York, recently scored a first-round KO over Dominic Breazeale to retain his WBC heavyweight title.
Dos Santos, 35, will take on Ngannou this Saturday in the UFC on ESPN 3 main event at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.