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Junior dos Santos unhappy with missing out on Fedor fight - ‘I don’t understand why’

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Junior dos Santos really wanted to fight Fedor Emelianenko, but the bout went to Tim Johnson instead.

UFC 256: Dos Santos v Gane Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is a free agent, and he’s looking for big fights. The highest-profile name outside the UFC at heavyweight just happens to be The Last Emperor, Fedor Emelianenko, and he’s returning to the cage to fight at Bellator Moscow in October. Obviously that was a bout that JDS was interested in.

But he didn’t get it. Bellator elected to match Fedor up with Tim Johnson instead.

In an interview with MMA Fighting, Dos Santos shared his disappointment with not getting the coveted bout against the former Pride kingpin:

“Not trying to sound disrespectful or anything like that, but at first I was very hopeful that I would be a great option for Fedor, to close his career,” Dos Santos said. “My idea is that he wanted a great fight, a fight that really interested the fans and made people excited to watch. That would be the case with options like myself, Overeem, and even Werdum. I was imagining something along those lines, something that made sense in my head, but it was completely the opposite of what I was imagining.”

“He ended up choosing Tim Johnson. I don’t know how the fight will go, I’m not judging anything, but I believe it would be way more interesting, or at least would get a bit more attention, if it were Overeem, Werdum, me, Josh Barnett. He’s the greatest champion in heavyweight history, I’m a fan of Fedor, but, for his last fight, [I thought] he probably wanted to gift fans with a super fight, one that called the attention of the entire world, but it wasn’t the path he followed. I don’t understand why, but it was a bit disappointing, I can’t say it wasn’t.”

Dos Santos (21-9) hasn’t competed since a December 2020 loss to Cyril Gane, and he is currently on a four-fight losing streak overall.