Junior Dos Santos made his intentions pretty clear a little more than four years ago in his UFC debut.
His giant right uppercut landed on Fabricio Werdum's chin like it was attached to a piece of construction equipment. And suddenly, the mostly unheard of Brazilian was known by plenty.
For Dos Santos (15-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC), it's been a steady stream of knockouts ever since that first UFC outing in Chicago. Stefan Struve in 54 seconds. He hit Mirko Filipovic so hard and so often that the legendary "Cro Cop" just waved his hands and yelled out for the punishment to stop. Gilbert Yvel. Gabriel Gonzaga.
And, of course, to win the UFC heavyweight title, he knocked out Cain Velasquez (10-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in just 64 seconds.
So naturally, the "baddest man on the planet" with arguably the heaviest hands on the planet is fully prepared to submit someone. Because of those hands, it's easy to forget he holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. And if he has to, he'll be glad to show off his ground skills in his title rematch with Velasquez next week at UFC 155.
"I prefer to fight on my feet," Dos Santos on Monday night told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "I prefer to keep it standing because I'm very confident in that area and I believe I can knock anyone out in the world. But I'm not going to go to the ground if the guy doesn't take me down. Cain is a really good wrestler, and he's got a good chance to take me down. If he takes me down and holds me there, then you guys will see my jiu-jitsu."
Sure, Junior. Sure. But he's serious.
"I train a lot of jiu-jitsu, too, and I can tell you I'm ready to submit someone," he said. "If the fight goes to the ground and I can't come back to my feet, I'm going to be looking to submit him."
Even though their first fight was just north of a minute, Dos Santos said he was able to take some things from that win and apply them to his fight camp for the rematch.
Since that fight, Dos Santos has a title defense TKO of Frank Mir and Velasquez, on the same card at UFC 146 in May, ran roughshod over Antonio Silva.
But even more than taking any cues from their first meeting, the champ is counting on the momentum he's had just in this training camp. For the first fight, he was banged up – though he didn't reveal that until after he had the belt around his waist. This time, he's healthy.
"I learned a little bit from that fight," he said. "I did all my preparation thinking about him, and the fight was very fast. But I think I learned something from that and I'm going to use it this time. For this fight, I think it was the best camp I've ever had. I'm feeling great and I have no injuries. I'll be 100 percent."
But it doesn't sound like he's under any illusions that the rematch will end as quickly as their time they met.
"He's going to come in and it's going to be a war inside of that cage," Dos Santos said. "I'll give 100 percent to get a victory. I like the challenge for sure, but that's why I train so much. I know Cain Velasquez is really tough – he's good on the ground, he's good on his feet and he's an excellent opponent for me. I like a big challenge in my life."
The question is, next week, will that challenge end with a submission?
UFC 155 takes place Dec. 29 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.