Junior Dos Santos enjoys what he does for a living, but it wasn’t always like that.
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion has had ups and downs in his career, just like everyone else. Dos Santos would fall on some hard times which would result in the end his 12-year UFC run. After going on a 3-fight win streak, he would lose his next 4 fights, all by way of KO/TKO.
Despite losing to only the top contenders of the division and being a former king, Dos Santos would be released by the promotion shortly after. ‘Cigano’ would test the waters of free agency and land himself a new home at Triller.
Cigano’s New Groove
It wouldn’t be in the boxing ring, though. Instead, JDS will fight inside a triangle at ‘Triad Combat’. Dos Santos is scheduled to fight boxing title contender Kubrat Pulev on Feb. 26th. Like his competition inside the UFC, the former champ want to continue to fight only the best. The feeling setting in for this fight is a happy one.
“I don’t pick fights and I always want to fight the best.” Dos Santos told ESPN. “So I was talking with my coaches and the people around me [about] this opportunity of being on fighting a big name of boxing. I said, that fits perfect for me, because he’s a tough guy. He has a lot of experience. He fought all the top guys in the boxing world.
“So, it’s the type of fight that makes me very excited and brings me back that good energy.” I was missing so much of this.”
Things Weren’t Right In The UFC
For Dos Santos, this fight is a new atmosphere for Dos Santos. He had been competing in the UFC for more than a decade and he wasn’t having much fun towards the tail end of his career. JDS believes he was being mistreated in his last few fights, which ultimately led to his release.
“In the UFC, things weren’t going [good].” Dos Santos added. “I was losing some fights and things, but things weren’t right. They were always pushing me.”
“Like my last two fights, I took the fights, [UFC] were saying, ‘you take [the fight] or you’re out’. They weren’t appreciating me anymore to be there. I was feeling bad. I wasn’t happy anymore.”
Getting Back On Track
While ‘Cigano’ may not be fighting inside the coveted Octagon anymore, he feels like a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders. There’s no more pressure from UFC brass, no more bad feelings for the UFC Champ. Dos Santos is finding his love for the fight game again.
“Now, I’m training again. Running every day, wake up at 5:30 in the morning, go for boxing training… I’m feeling great with how things are going now. It brought me back to that good energy, that happiness to be doing something I love to do.
“I wasn’t enjoying [fighting] anymore because of the pressure, the responsibility [the UFC] were putting on myself.”