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UFC contender Thiago Santos: ‘There has to be a rematch’ with Jon Jones

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Thiago Santos makes his case for a rematch against Jon Jones.

UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos came close to dethroning Jon Jones at UFC 239 last month. “Marreta” pushed the champion through five rounds en route to a split decision verdict, a first in “Bones’” career.

Santos did pay a price for his efforts, injuring both his knees that required surgery. And after undergoing a successful procedure two weeks ago, the 35-year-old fighter is demanding to run it back.

“It’s difficult for me to watch,” Santos told ESPN, speaking of his five-rounder with Jones. “That’s why it took me so long to watch it. If I was a judge, I would have given that fight to Thiago Santos. I think I won Rounds 1, 2 and 5. I think the fact Jones was the champion weighed on the judges’ decision. I think the challenger has to do more to take the belt from the champion.

“There has to be a rematch,” he continued. “As soon as I am 100%, we have to get back in there and find out a real winner.”

Jones did say he is open to an immediate rematch, but Santos remains skeptical, nonetheless.

“It’s difficult because of the way the UFC looks at decisions sometimes, but I’m not focused on that right now,” Santos responded when asked if he thinks the UFC will grant him the opportunity. “I’m focused on recovering, and when I’m healthy, my focus will still be on becoming a champion.

“I will come back strong and accomplish that.”

Santos was a on a four-fight win streak before he ran into Jones. He currently holds a record of 21-7 (with 16 wins by stoppage).