Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos is looking to be more active. And unlike what many fighters in the promotion are alleged to do, Santos is not trying to protect his spot in the rankings. Instead, he is looking to constantly improve. And the only way to do that is to keep fighting, keep gaining experience, and keep taking on all comers. So when offered a debuting prospect in Blagoy Ivanov at UFC Boise, Junior dos Santos did not big-time his would-be opponent. Instead, he gave him an uncordial welcome to the big time with a one-sided unanimous decision victory:
“I wasn’t thinking about (Ivanov not being well-known),” dos Santos said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “When they offered me Blagoy, I said yes right away. Because I’ve been suffering with having opponents. Because some of the guys, they don’t want to fight me. Or some of the guys, they want to fight for the title, they want to fight for something else. They’re picking opponents. I don’t do that.
“When they offered me Blagoy, I didn’t think, ‘This guy is not known, this guy is not in the rankings right now so I’m not gonna fight him. I didn’t think about that. I just accepted the fight. Because it doesn’t really matter. You have to fight. In the UFC, you have to fight and show you’re there. You’re there to make the show happen.”
Staying true to his approach of not handpicking opponents, when dos Santos received word that Francis Ngannou called him out for a fight, dos Santos stated in no uncertain terms that if this is a fight that is offered to him, he would not hesitate to put his name on the dotted line:
“Well, like I said, I don’t pick opponents. I think it would be a much more interesting fight to happen when it should’ve happened—like months ago. But like I said, I want to fight often. If Francis Ngannou is the opponent, let’s go. Let’s make it happen. Actually, I think people would love to see that. So yeah, if the UFC calls me and they want to make this fight, let’s go.”
Is Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos a fight you would like to see?