Junior dos Santos discusses UFC 256 five days removed from a tough knockout defeat to Serial Gain.
To say that the former UFC heavyweight champion is facing the toughest period of his professional career is an understanding, as “Signo” beat four consecutive stoppages in just 18 months. This one is particularly bad because he sees it as an unfair result.
In a 25-minute conversation with MMA Fighting on Thursday, his first interview after UFC 256, Dos Santos discusses the elbow that took him down, with the promotion deemed legal by referee Jiren Vaille, likely to cut the promotion , Or not, the 36-year-old veteran has considered retirement, and more.
The fight was clearly not as you expected. What went wrong against Ciryl Gane?
Well, I think that maybe I am being more indifferent due to the weight of responsibility for this negative moment in my career. I’m not attacking or being as aggressive as I should be, so … I didn’t attack, I wasn’t as aggressive as I planned on being.
Did you follow the strategy you had set for this fight or did it fall short? What was your plan for this fight?
This made the rounds. I was more fighting inside, but did not follow the plan at all. I should close the distance and cover a lot of distance, but our movement, especially because of it, fought long distance.
Did he startle you with any of your things, or did you suffer due to not following your strategy and being “indifferent”?
I think it was my fault. [He] Was actually quite the opposite, because I was expecting … nothing was taking away from him, but I was expecting, his size and everything about him that people talked about him, hyped him. Did, I expected heavy attacks, but didn’t feel any of them. I felt that this is completely normal, like any other heavyweight. Unfortunately, I paid once more for my mistakes. Not a mistake at all, but not following the plan at all.
The way things happened at the end of the fight shows me a lot, I cannot accept it. Not only the way it was, but mainly because of the people in the business have said that. It is not that I could not be knocked out, none of that. On the contrary, I have always accepted my defeat with humility. If someone is better than me, there is nothing I can do, especially in this division, where the hand goes down to the ground and the person. But the situation there, the way it was, and everyone is thinking that it’s okay … by everyone I mean the so-called MMA experts consider it a legal strike. To me, this is very disappointing.
Those who consider it a legal strike argue that when you were walking, it was already throwing a strike, and also that it did not go to the back of the head, it also hit the side. do not you think so?
This is not the only point, it was the argument of the athletic commission. He said that it is also connected to the ear so it is valid, but it was his forearm, close to the arm, which hit my ear, but the elbow was just attached to the back of my head. I went out for a few seconds and when I came back it was already too late. I felt a headache and looked towards the big curtain, where I saw a repetition of the movement and it was absolutely descending towards the back of the head.
People say that I turned my head, which is absurd. I was already sideways, it was like holding me in that position for about 10 seconds, so when he threw the elbow – I don’t think it was intentional, he did it to push the elbow to the back of my head did not say. , I don’t think that, but that doesn’t make it legal. “Oh, I turned my head and whatever.” This does not make the strike illegal.
I didn’t turn my head, I was already in that position for a few seconds, enough time for him to know that that type of attack would obviously hit the back of the head. I know that an athlete is probably very excited at that moment and does not reflect too much about this, but the illegal attacks are obvious. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many, which the media probably does not have, [it’s illegal], But those experts are saying that it was not legal, because I was changed.
At first, I turned because of the jab he landed — and I didn’t get hurt. They said that I was, but I turned and went so that I would not be hurt again. Maybe this is the wrong way of defense, I do not know, but what is wrong and what is right? Who’s there to say that? I know this is a heavyweight division and it was an illegal strike that took the opportunity to continue fighting away from me. Like I said, heavyweight are heavyweight. I’ve knocked people out with the seconds left in the final round, like maybe that too. It is absurd to take that opportunity away from me.
It is also absurd that they expect me to accept this result as a normal result, like a reasonable result. This was not a fair result. I’m a blond man and I play in a fair way, and I always have, and I think … you can’t expect people to be fair to them. I do not know.
And I think Ciryl’s words were a lot … He would obviously try to go with the flow, but we talked inside the octagon and I said it was an illegal strike and he argued with his coach. If you do not do something illegal, you will never wish to do anything. And then he did that interview with Joe Rogan after leaving the Octagon, which Rogan then asked him if the strike was legal and he said he didn’t know. How will you not know if you have gone on an illegal strike? It is like an odd situation. You would say that it was not illegal. And then he said in the press conference what the athletic commission had said to me, also that the strike was legal, because there was an injury to the back of the ear. He said, “Oh, if the athletic commission says it’s legal, it’s legal.”
He has to go with the flow because it benefits him, but, here’s what I’m thinking. He is the image of our game. Everyone is fighting to make the sport stronger and better and the sudden illegal strike has become legal due to the condition of the athlete? Or depending on the position of the athlete in the promotion, or the position of the strike, as they are saying I turned my back, which I did not.
In other words, you threw an unlawful strike, but depending on what position your opponent is going through or his position is not illegal? Oh, it’s illegal on some occasions, but not all? He is absurd. Illegal attacks are illegal attacks. For example, if you’re on the ground, I can’t stand you face-to-face? This is a rule. If you keep it on land then you must be doing something illegal. He was holding me sideways, no matter whether I rolled my head or not. He threw the elbow behind the head, it is illegal.
The least the referee could do was stop the fight and give me time to recover and then the fight would continue. At least he could. It is illegal for a reason. Do you stop worrying about your health and safety when you are going through a complicated situation in the company? it’s too complicated. I haven’t opened up about it yet, I’m talking to you about it because it’s hard to absorb, you know?
[…] In other words, screw the rules, screw the health and safety of the athlete, screw the game. As I said, who depends on the fighter… I would ask you this, if it was the other way, if it was me hitting the elbow on the back of his head, do you think they would handle it the same way. way? Not at all It would be some sort of vengeance right away because of a moment … I don’t know.
The first thing people will say is, “Junior doesn’t want to accept the loss, Junior doesn’t want him to lose.” Brother, I have no problem giving up. The moment I got hit and the referee stopped it and I came back like I was, “Damn it, I’m lost again,” but then I saw the replay and I thought “Damn it,” and my head The back hurt, and it clearly shows that he hit the elbow behind my head, and you stop the fight in his favor? how so?
People can say that I am crying, that I do not want to accept defeat, when in fact the defeat was not done in a legal way, it was an illegal strike that did not allow me to continue the fight. I don’t know what the outcome will be and it doesn’t matter anymore because they put us in an absurd situation.
Do you plan to appeal the result, or don’t you think the Athletic Commission will reverse it based on your conversations in the locker room?
Man, athletic commissions are not used to reverse results or anything like that, but we are studying the situation because the videos are very clear, they show the strike, and the logic is … from the logic fighters Are also the worst. A fighter who wants to protect his or her own side is fine, but other fighters… many fighters, people know what it means to the life of an athlete and how hard it is to do the rules of the game. Going health against, sports and their own health and safety.
Gain says that if the athletic commission said it’s okay, it’s fine, and smiles. My friend, you do not realize that you are doing something that may affect you in the future. I am going through it today, but it could happen to another athlete or even in the future, so I want to see your little smile.
This is a difficult situation, very odd, which makes me feel unjust. I have always helped with this fight with everything I own. I have asked for it to be in January, so I can have enough time to prepare because I was in Brazil, and they said they wanted it in December, and I have accepted it. I have always helped in every situation, and suddenly…
Illegal or not, this loss puts you in a difficult position with four defeats in a row. Do you decide in the future about the next steps in your career?
Oh, it does. very. I don’t know what exactly, you know? I am living the situations, trying to really understand my head. There is a reason why people say that we are our worst enemy [laughs]. Sometimes it is difficult to deal with your mind, your emotions. I think it has affected my life a lot, but the one thing I cannot deny is that this is what I am doing. I like to fight Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to feel the best about it, you know? I have been very worried before my quarrel. It is a difficult moment, but for me it is the best way and work to overcome it as soon as possible.
Dana White said “possibly” When asked at the press conference after the fight whether fans would have seen you for the last time in the Octagon. Is it likely?
Our contract with the UFC can be terminated at any time. I think he has the intention of letting many fighters go now. I don’t know how it will go. I think it’s on them. It was for me to come prepared for this fight and live and live this negative moment, but unfortunately it did not happen and it all messed up. I don’t know how it will go now. Let us see what the next step will be. Like I said, I always do what I love to do, I have always done my best inside the organization and will keep doing as long as I can.
How many fights are there in your deal today?
I think I have five left, but it makes no sense.
Do you plan to continue fighting in the UFC or elsewhere if they want to free you from this contract?
I like to fight, like I said, and it’s tough … I have no intention of retiring now, especially because I’m 36 and as I said, I’m performing at the highest level in training but I’m in it Cannot reflect the octagon, so this is a complex situation. I don’t even like to discuss [retirement] Because I don’t want to hurry myself. I’m not thinking about it.
The only thing I’m trying to absorb is everything that’s going on, it’s a tough situation in a fight, and how that seems unfair, you know? As I said, I have always tried my best to make everyone better, not only promotion but also myself, being a fair man and competing in a fair way because it is something that deserves respect. I do not like to discuss anything because I have not stopped thinking [about it] Till now.