UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos knows he needs to send a message to the division in his next outing. After losing his last three fights, ‘Marreta’ is aware that an impressive performance against fellow countryman Johnny Walker is necessary in order to get back into title contention.
Paired up against a fellow striker who is not afraid of throwing flashy moves in the Octagon, Santos knows that a fight against Walker might become a wild affair. However, Marreta also knows he cannot take the risk of losing a fourth bout and vows not to respect Johnny’s skills while he looks for an aggressive finish.
“I respect him as a fighter and as a person, but on fight day I’ll show him no respect or mercy.” Santos told Combate. “I’ll do my job and try to knock him out. I’ll kick him hard, I’ll hit him hard. I’ll bring him the pain. It’s my job. I feel much better than in my last fight. More confident and more comfortable. I’ll show everybody.”
“On September 25, I’ll show I still deserve to be an UFC fighter.” Thiago continued. “I’ll show that I deserve to be the fourth-ranked light heavyweight in the world. I need to show everyone who I am. My last fight didn’t show it. In this fight, I want to show I’m better now than before my surgery (in both knees, following his Jon Jones fight). I’ll try to finish him and show that I deserve to fight for the belt again.”
Currently on a three-fight losing skid, Marreta lost to Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira before dropping an uneventful unanimous decision to Aleksandar Rakic, back in March. The 37-year-old’s last victory happened in February 2019, when he TKO’d the division’s current champion: Jan Blachowicz.
Now, Santos is expected to take on Walker at UFC Fight Night 197’s headliner, on September 25, in a location yet to be determined. So far, no other bouts have been linked to the card.