Former UFC Heavyweight Champ Junior dos Santos Targets Late Spring Return To The Octagon

By Rick LaFitte
Junior dos Santos
Ron Chenoy USA TODAY Sports

After taking some downtime after his TKO loss to heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 166, Junior dos Santos has resumed training and is targeting a late spring return. Dos Santos showed tremendous heart in his trilogy fight with Velasquez but was finally stopped in the fifth round after absorbing a savage beating.

“Cigano” is hoping to return to the Octagon in May or June, and his head coach has one particular name on the list for a possible opponent for the former heavyweight champion. Luiz Dorea says while dos Santos will fight anyone the promotion decides to put in front of him they would welcome a matchup against Alistair Overeem. That’s if Overeem is victorious at UFC 169 against Frank Mir.

Dos Santos and Overeem have unfinished business as they were scheduled to meet on two prior occasions with both bouts eventually getting nixed for separate reasons. A scheduled heavyweight title fight between then-champion dos Santos and Overeem at UFC 146 was scrapped after Overeem failed a pre-fight drug test. Then it was an Overeem injury that scuttled a scheduled clash between the two powerful strikers at UFC 160.

Dos Santos likely isn’t going to get a title shot at Velasquez anytime soon after being dominated in their last two bouts, but as long as he gets back into the win column in his next fight and continues to produce victories he will be tough to ignore down the road. A fourth fight against Velasquez would seem like a long shot, but if both fighters continue their dominance in the heavyweight division it can’t be entirely ruled out.

The Brazilian has compiled an impressive 10-2 record in the Octagon with eight stoppage victories and has produced three Knockout of the Night performances. Dos Santos has tremendous power and has shown he has the ability to be a champion. While he’s hungry to eventually get the title back, now it’s all about bouncing back after being on the receiving end of a brutal beat down in his last fight. While there are a number of solid matchups to make for dos Santos, a battle against Overeem would make for an exciting way to return. It’s up to Overeem to first take care of his own business on Feb. 1 in order to keep that possibility in play.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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