Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is currently ranked 14th in the UFC welterweight division and is on a seven-fight winning streak. Despite his success, the Brazilian continues to be matched up with unranked opponents.
Yet dos Santos doesn’t care if he fights ranked or unranked opponents. Instead, he is just focused on fighting.
“I need to fight. I challenged guys who we were above me in the rankings and they didn’t take it. I’m a fighter, I live for this sport and I’m really focused on the more philosophical aspect of martial arts,” Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos told BJPENN.com. “So I needed to fight, needed to prove myself as a fighter and that is what I’m doing.”
Dos Santos will next step into the Octagon at UFC Shenzhen this Saturday, where he will be taking on the unranked Li Jingliang in the co-main event. It will no doubt be an entertaining fight, as both like to be the aggressor and push the pace. Breaking down the fight, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is very excited for it as he thinks he will leave China with an extra $50 thousand in his bank.
“I’m ready to face anyone, I don’t pick opponents. I think this is a great match-up,” he explained. “I don’t think this fight will go to the ground. He is a striker and I really like that game as well. A well-rounded fighter moves forward all the time. So this fight has all the potential to be the Fight of the Night. I think this will end with someone getting knocked out.”
Although dos Santos believes this will be an entertaining fight, Jingliang still is not a ranked opponent. That being said, dos Santos hopes he’ll be able to fight somebody above him in the rankings if he is victorious in China.
“I don’t feel frustrated at all. I’m really happy to be fighting in China, another challenge in my career. I’m happy to be the co-main event here and continue to prove my worth,” dos Santos said. “Honestly, I would fight anyone, ranked or not, even the champion. It’s one step at a time and my focus is on this fight, but with a win, I will probably be near a title shot.”
If Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos does get his hand raised he hopes it will show the world just how good he is, and that he deserves recognition as a top-level fighter.
“With every fight, I’m proving my worth, so sooner or later I’ll reach my goal,” he concluded.
Who do you think will win the fight between Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Li Jingliang?
Learn how to watch UFC Shenzhen here.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/29/2019.