There is no telling if Junior dos Santos will ever reclaim the UFC heavyweight title. He looked like a truly beaten man in his fights against Cain Velasquez, and despite winning a fight of the night victory last weekend, it took a grueling, 25-minute effort. He was brutalized on the way to that victory, causing some to worry about the long-term costs of another difficult win. Nonetheless, Junior is a truly historic fighter, starting his career 15-1, with over ten of them coming by way of some sort of knockout.
Mike Bohn at MMA Junkie has compiled some statistics that put his greatness in perspective, even if he may continue bumping up against a cage wire ceiling on his way towards reclaiming the championship.
Most importantly, Junior holds the career UFC heavyweight record for significant strikes, landing 708 in competition. He’s ended 11 of his UFC fights by knockout, tying Lyoto Machida. And the Junior / Stipe Miocic slugfest set the UFC heavyweight record for most significant strikes landed (222).
As impressive as the last figure is, it is concerning, given Junior was receiving truly significant strikes from a strong heavyweight competitor. He has suffered staggering damage over his last four fights, which lasted a painful total of just over 87 minutes. Those concerns aside, Junior belongs in discussions about the most significant heavyweights who have competed in the world’s top organization. He is excellent on paper, even if he ultimately suffers too much when you tally the bottom line.