Thiago "Marreta" Santos hasn't appeared since UFC 239 in July when he challenged Jon Jones for the Light Heavyweight Championship in the main event. Despite being a major underdog, he took Jones to the limit whilst suffering a knee tear, losing only by a narrow split decision at the end.
In the eyes of many, Santos had defeated Jones, but it was too close to call and nowhere nearly as controversial as Jones' recent unanimous decision victory against Dominick Reyes.
Santos told MMAFighting.com that he plans to return to the Octagon in July - having taken a full year off from fighting. However, he revealed that he encountered a major problem - UFC offered him an opponent ranked outside the top 10 for his return.
The Brazilian understands that he isn't in the mix for a rematch with Jones even though he would prefer that. He's aware that Dominick Reyes and more recently, Jan Blachowicz are the frontrunners for the next crack at Jones' title.
Santos admitted that while he never turns down fights, he is now willing to take a step back:
“They want to give me fights I don’t want. 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,” Santos said.
It's only fair of Santos to decline the offer and he said that he was very upset when they offered him that fight - worried that if things go that way, getting his next fight will be a problem:
“I can’t say his name because it could get me in trouble, but they offered someone who’s not in the top-10. 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.”
Hopefully, Santos gets a major name upon his return. Volkan Oezdemir or Dominick Reyes would make a lot of sense and many fans will hope that a healthy Thiago Santos will be able to potentially beat Jon Jones for the title.Published 19 Feb 2020, 09:27 IST