Junior dos Santos is going through the worst phase of his MMA career. He had never had any consecutive losses but in the last 14 months, he's been knocked out three times - by Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, and most recently, Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 252.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Junior dos Santos reflected on his latest defeat to Rozenstruik and what went wrong:
“A difficult moment. I’m going through a weird moment where it’s very difficult for things to go right,” dos Santos said. “We have to evolve. Sometimes we can’t even understand what needs to be changed or not. Regardless of that, man, it’s obvious that we’re analyzing my reaction to his movements in there, but it’s hard to come to a simple answer, you know? I really call it a bad phase.
Junior dos Santos admitted that it was more frustrating because things were going well in the fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik:
“It is more frustrating because things were going well and I was feeling great in every aspect of it, so this result made me really upset, you know?” he said. “Jairzinho has his merits, of course, everybody knows he has heavy hands. What happened against Ngannou and Blaydes was that I exposed myself too much, exposed myself to their attacks instead of following the strategy. There was a mistake made, which I don’t think happened in this fight.”
Junior dos Santos said it bothered him because it was three losses in a row:
“It really bothers me because it’s the third consecutive loss,” dos Santos said. “I know what I’m capable of and I know my skills, I see myself in great shape both technically and physically as an athlete, and not having positive results makes no sense.”
Is Junior dos Santos still a title contender?
Junior dos Santos is going to have to work his way back up quite a bit if he wants to get a title shot. After the conclusion of the Stipe Miocic-Daniel Cormier trilogy, Francis Ngannou is next in line.
Jon Jones' arrival in the Heavyweight division could shake things up in a big way and Dana White stated his interest in Jones fighting for the title after Francis Ngannou.
Derrick Lewis vs Curtis Blaydes presents another interesting match-up this November that could determine the next in line after Francis Ngannou and potentially Jon Jones.
Junior dos Santos is now well behind in the line, but that won't stop him from returning in a big way. Aleksei Oleinik will be a realistic name for Junior dos Santos. However, following his third consecutive knockout loss, it might be a while before we see Junior dos Santos inside the Octagon.Published 19 Aug 2020, 14:21 IST