Thiago Santos wants 2020 title shot upon return

Thiago Santos
Image: UFC on Instagram

Thiago Santos has been getting back to form after sustaining multiple injuries during his split decision loss against the current heavyweight champion, Jon Jones in July. He suffered complete and partial torn ligaments, forcing the fighter to undergo surgery. However, the title challenger already has his sights set on a 2020 return for the heavyweight throne.

During an interview with AG Fight, Thiago Santos believes he can follow in the footsteps of football star Ronaldo, who suffered severe knee injuries in 2001. The footballer successfully recovered, an went on to win the World Cup with the Brazillian football team a year later. Santos intends on recreating Ronaldo’s success in the MMA world.

“Sure enough, Ronaldo is a guy that inspires me. Even before I had an injury, I was already a fan of him. It is certainly a case that inspires me because he had a serious knee injury too, returned to play and was champion (of the world) with the Brazilian team. He inspires me so much,” he said via AG Fight

The journey to recovery starts every day at 7 am at the Tata Fight Team gym in Barra di Tijuca, Rio De Janeiro with his physiotherapist. Santos is happy with the progression but isn’t rushing recovery.

“I’m ahead of schedule, no complications so far. Still, there’s no reason to rush things. I’ve been boxing, I think I’ll be able to move in three weeks, maybe do some light sparring, some shadow boxing. I think it’ll be a while before I can start kicking again. But I’ll be fighting in the first semester of 2020.”

The 35-year old is confident that he still has exciting prospects to look forward to. His confidence in obtaining the belt remains undeterred.

“I think the UFC is waiting for outcome of the next fights to define Jones’ next opponent. I think he makes one more fight and then he’ll have to face me. My focus is not on Jon Jones though, it is the belt. If it is against him, it has an added bonus because he’s an undefeated champion that no one has ever beat. Of course, I want to be the first to beat him. But if it’s not him, I’ll go after who has the title,”

Jon Jones has no upcoming bout confirmed but said he wants an immediate rematch against Thiago Santos upon recovery. Would you like to see a Jon Jones vs Thiago Santos rematch? Let us know in the comments below!