Junior “Cigano” dos Santos debut in UFC couldn’t be better. Fighting in MMA only for three years, period in which he got seven victories and lost only one fight, the fighter impressed the American crowd with a great knockout against Fabrício Werdum in 81 seconds. In an exclusive interview with TATAME, Junior spoke about the happiness after the victory, the tactics for the combat, the inspiration on trainings and analized the category in UFC, which has as interim champion his close friend and teacher Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira. Check below the complete interview with the Cigano.
Which was the importance of this victory in your UFC debut?
It was very important, showed that the job that I did worked perfectly. I worked hard for three months, between Rio de Janeiro and Salvador (Bahia). It was very hard, but it was worthy. It was rewarding come out of that octagon with the victory. The sensation is unbelievable, after the fight my legs were weak (laughs).
Which was the strategy for the fight?
Striking isn’t Werdum’s strongest point, but on the gruond he is a phenomenon, so the tactics was keep the fight stand up. We saw that he down a lot his head when when he punches, so we worked the upper, which is a blow that I like very much and I always applied well in Boxe, to finish the fight.
Did his interviews before the fight motivated more yourself?
Yes, they motivated myself, because fight is fight and, although he is expert fighter, he should have had more respect to me. The experience counts, for sure, but we can’t predict the result of a fight before it happens only because the other guy isn’t known.
Who helped you in the training for this fight?
Many people believed and helped me, but (Luis) Dórea was my coach and my psychologist, made me believe all the time that I could win this fight. Minotauro and Minotouro (Nogueiras) also helped me a lot, supported and trained me, (Edson) Draggo helped me a lot in the physical preparation, he left me very strong and with a lot of gas. I knew that Werdum would want to take me down, but it wouldn’t be that easy, because I was feeling myself very strong. The preparation maybe has been my biggest change, because I never have worked so much this part. I stabilized my weight with 108kg and I did a great job of explosion.
Minotauro is the UFC interim champion. If the event puts you to face him, would you fight against him for the belt?
It’s impossible, I’d never face him. He is my ground master. I think that he’ll win this GP, so I’d be his guardian. To fight against him, people would have to face me first (laughs).
When will you come back to fight in UFC?
I think that I’ll be back only next year, but after this victory I want to come back as soon as possible to fight in that octagon.