Before Dominick Reyes, there was Thiago Santos. While everyone still remembers that Jon Jones barely escaped Houston with his belt after a controversial decision win over Reyes at UFC 247, it was just a few months ago that basically the same thing happened. At UFC 239, Santos took Jones to the limit despite some major injuries suffered in the fight, and almost won the UFC light heavyweight title.
But as usual in the UFC, if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.
Santos believes he will be ready to fight again in July, and obviously he wants a rematch with Jones. But with Reyes maybe getting his own rematch, and Jan Blachowicz (a man Santos knocked out a year ago) emerging into the title picture last week, “Marreta” knows it’s probably not in the cards.
He spoke to MMA Fighting about that, and he seems insulted by what the UFC has offered him so far - an opponent coming off a loss and outside the top ten.
“They want to give me fights I don’t want,” Santos said. “I never turn fights down, no matter who they are. But I’ve earned something, and I won’t accept anything less. I won’t take a step back. They want to give me something that represents a step back, and I won’t take a step back.”
It does seem rather puzzling that they would want Santos to take a fight like that. Especially since he’s relatively new to the division and there are lots of fresh matchups for him. He won’t say who it is, but it’s pretty clear he’s not going to take the fight:
“I can’t say his name because it could get me in trouble, but they offered someone who’s not in the top-10,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to fight someone outside the top five or six, or someone who’s on a rise. I was very upset when they offered someone who’s coming off a loss, you know? I refuse to take a step back. It’s not fair. If that’s how it goes, we’re gonna have problems getting our next fight.”
His return is still a few months away, so hopefully the UFC can give him something more appealing to him. And to fans.