Junior dos Santos admits that, after three consecutive stoppage losses, he’s going through a “weird moment” in his mixed martial arts career.
Dos Santos, the former UFC heavyweight champion, sought to rebound from back-to-back knockout losses to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes when he took on Jairzinho Rozenstruik on the main card of UFC 252 last weekend. Regrettably for the Brazilian and his team, things didn’t go as planned, as he succumbed to his foe’s punches in round two.
“We know a fight is a fight and everything is possible, but I was feeling great, one of the best shapes I’ve ever had,” dos Santos told MMA Fighting after the loss to Rozenstruik. “There’s always that pre-fight tension, but I was very confident. And maybe I didn’t follow the strategy, which was to vary my attacks instead of doing what I do best, which is my boxing.
“I found the distance, I was seeing everything clearly, everything was going well, and all of a sudden… It’s that heavyweight thing, especially against Jairzinho, who hits really hard, one of his punches grazed and you go out for a brief moment and that’s enough to take you out of your game and your opponent uses that to finish the fight. I was doing really well and it was unfortunate that I lost.”
With these three losses behind him, dos Santos concedes he’s in midsts of “a weird moment,” and that it will be worthwhile to sit down with his team and try to determine what they can change to achieve more favorable results.
“I’m going through a weird moment where it’s very difficult for things to go right,” dos Santos said. “We have to evolve. Sometimes we can’t even understand what needs to be changed or not. Regardless of that, man, it’s obvious that we’re analyzing my reaction to his movements in there, but it’s hard to come to a simple answer, you know? I really call it a bad phase.
“We obviously have to learn and try to absorb as much as we can to get better for the fight. And maybe we need to work more on not giving openings to our opponents, you know? Follow the plan we had instead of letting the fight go, using more kicks, boxing, wrestling and even jiu-jitsu.”
“It really bothers me because it’s the third consecutive loss,” dos Santos added. “I know what I’m capable of and I know my skills, I see myself in great shape both technically and physically as an athlete, and not having positive results makes no sense.”
What do you think the future holds for Junior dos Santos after UFC 252?