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Free agent Eduardo Dantas wishes to give UFC a try: ‘There are great challenges for me there’

Former Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas would like test his skills against the UFC’s top fighters.

MMA: Bellator 184-Caldwell vs. Dantas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Former Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas is no longer signed with the second biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world.

While ‘Dudu’ tests free agency following a knockout loss to current champ Juan Archuleta in his last outing, he does expect to land in the bigger company in the world, after dedicating the majority of his career to Bellator.

In an interview with Ag Fight, Dantas shared his desire to compete in the UFC, where he believes the biggest challenges of his career might be at the moment. Furthermore Dantas is interested in challenging Petr Yan’s title, while he would also enjoy being under the same roof as his teammate and friend Jose Aldo.

“I’m still studying my possibilities. I’ll talk to Dede (Andre Pederneiras, Nova Uniao’s head coach) and see what he thinks,” Dantas said. “We have some offers and we’ll see what the future has in store for us. I do (wish to be in the UFC) and I’ll tell you why. We are motivated by challenges. If there’s no challenge, there’s no growth. There are great challenges for me there. There’s Petr Yan, who’s the champion and defeated Aldo, and he has trained with us before. There Marlon Moraes and Junior (Jose Aldo), who’s my brother, my partner. He inspires me and gives me strength. It’s a place where my heart will beat harder.”

Even though the coronavirus pandemic is still far from under control in the United States and Brazil, Dantas feels healthy and intends to fight at least once before the year ends. So far, the only thing stopping the 31-year-old from taking a fight is taking the time to accept the right offer.

“I intend to fight this year,” Dantas said. “I’m very hungry. My body needs that adrenaline. I’ve been training since Jose Aldo’s camp for Marlon Moraes. We just need to negotiate to see what’s the best option in order not to make the mistake of accepting anything.”

The reason behind Dantas’ hunger to fight again comes from a combination of doctor’s orders and just bad timing. After his loss to Archuleta, Eduardo was instructed to stay away from suffering any strikes to the head for a month. Shortly after that period was up, the coronavirus pandemic struck the world and rendered the Brazilian without a fight ever since.

“After my last fight, I decided to look for a doctor to see if I could fight again soon. He told me to go one month without suffering any head trauma and I followed his advice. I ended up not fighting in November and then in January I took a trip. Then the pandemic hit us in March. At the time, I was going to get my contract and I noticed that it was up. I decided not to negotiate with them and leave things as they were.”

“The pandemic happened and they didn’t say anything,” Dantas continued. “So I decided it was time to announce it. To give the people who follow me some kind of explanation. I spent nine years in Bellator, I have a lot of history with them, I was the champion. Now I want new things to motivate me to get up in the morning and chase my dream.”

Before his June 2019 loss to Juan Archuleta, Eduardo Dantas (21-7) picked up a unanimous decision victory over Toby Misech, in February of the same year, at Bellator 215. The win snapped a two-fight skid, in which he lost to UFC vet Michael McDonald and then challenger to Dudu’s belt, Darrion Caldwell.

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