Junior Dos Santos: “I feel my fellow heavyweights see me as a gateway to the title.”

Junior dos Santos is aiming to get back the belt again after being the UFC heavyweight champ for more than a year.

Losing two times to now-former champion Cain Velasquez, who has recently met his title loss to Fabricio Werdum last June, Dos Santos, who is holding a record of 17-3 MMA and 11-3 UFC, is going to fight Alistair Overeem this coming Saturday at UFC on FOX 17.

This fight was scheduled as the co-headliner of the night, which was held at Amway Center in Florida. This is the first time that Dos Santos will be fighting again after a terrible loss against Stipe Miocic last year during the UFC on FOX 13 event.

In a recent interview, Dos Santos was asked about his challenger, Overeem.

Dos Santos“He’s a good heavyweight fighter with dangerous striking.He’s a great kickboxer with excellent knees and kicks. I’ve been training to avoid that, or use it to set up counters. His power has to be respected. And he also likes to make controversial statements, when promoting a fight and trying to stand out,” Dos Santos said.

A couple of years ago, Dos Santos and Overeem were supposed to go against each other to fight over the heavyweight title. Unfortunately, Dos Santos didn’t get the chance to fight him because Overeem didn’t pass the pre-fight drug exam; he went against Frank Mir instead. Dos Santos won the fight by knockout.

Prior to that fight, Overeem went on saying that Dos Santos is afraid to fight him. After winning over Mir, it was reported that Dos Santos apparently asked Overeem to finally fight him. However, Dos Santos fought Velasquez instead, which resulted to an MMA title loss.

Now that Werdum has the title after winning over Velasquez last June during the UFC 188 event, the stakes are now quite different for the two MMA fighters. Both of them are set to a rematch this coming February at UFC 196.

“I feel my fellow heavyweights see me as a gateway to the title. A lot of people are interested in fighting me. I think that’s very interesting. It’s great. Thankfully I’ve reached this position, and I’m working hard to remain at the top,” Dos Santos said.

Dos Santos further revealed that he thinks that challenging fights like the one with Overeem is the one that gets the fans’ attention and gives way to getting shots at the titles.

“I think it will be a great fight – striker vs. striker. The fans have been waiting for a long time. We’ll both be looking to win by knockout, but anything can happen. Everything is in place for a great fight. People know that heavyweight fights are different. They know what to expect. Even the last row can hear the noise when we land a strike. There’s an emotional component that people enjoy,” he said

“Evolution must be constant, especially from the moment you start having very good results. As soon as I became the world champion, I also became a target. Other fighters start to study you and formulate strategies against you. I can’t be narrow-minded and only use my boxing, which is something I love to do. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this is MMA. I have to keep getting better,” he added.