This week I had the opportunity to briefly speak with current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos about a reasonably wide variety of topics. We discussed his views on Alistair Overeem's win over Brock Lesnar at UFC 141, his predictions for UFC 142, when he can resume full training and more.
Full audio and transcription below:
Luke Thomas: Alright, joining me right now on the McDonald's hot line, he is the UFC heavyweight champion of the world here to talk about his career and of course UFC 142 this weekend live on pay-per-view 10 p.m. from Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil. Junior dos Santos is with us. Junior, how are you?
Junior dos Santos: I'm great and it's a pleasure to be talking with you guys again.
Luke Thomas: Thank you very much Junior, likewise and I feel the same about talking to you. Junior, since you won the belt and you went back to Brazil, how different is life now that you're a big star in Brazil?
Junior dos Santos: (laughs) My life changed a lot you know and I'm really, really happy with my condition now. Everything is going very good for me and people recognize me on the streets, on the mall or wherever I am, people recognize me so I think it's a really good thing for me.
Luke Thomas: Talk about your knee. I know it was injured going into the fight, you got surgery. Give us a health update on how your knee is doing.
Junior dos Santos: Yeah, my knee is doing great. I'm feeling almost 100 percent and the surgery was very, very simple, it was meniscus surgery and I'm almost ready to my fight.
Luke Thomas: Have you started training again?
Junior dos Santos: Yeah, I'm training boxing and I'm doing weights workout but not jiu-jitsu yet.
Luke Thomas: Okay, when do you think you will start training jiu-jitsu again?
Junior dos Santos: Me, I think another 10 days I will be training everything normal again.
Luke Thomas: If you had your choice, Junior, if it was up to you, how many times would you like to fight next year?
Junior dos Santos: For me, I think three fights per year is a good number.
Luke Thomas: Okay, so if you got three fights per year, when do you think you would be ready to fight Overeem? In the summer? A little bit earlier than that?
Junior dos Santos: I think so. I'm always ready to fight, you know? I think, like I said, another 10 days to begin training normally again and then I need two months to get prepared for the fight and I can fight wherever, whenever the UFC wants to put that fight, I will be ready for him.
Luke Thomas: Talk about who you're gonna face next, Alistair Overeem. How would grade his performance against Brock Lesnar?
Junior dos Santos: Yeah, I think Alistair for sure is really dangerous and he came for his fight with Brock Lesnar, I think he came with a very good strategy and he was smart in that fight and I think he deserved that win and now it's gonna be between me and him and I think it's gonna be a really good challenge for me and I know it's gonna be a good fight for all the MMA fans because I think it's gonna be a stand up fight.
Luke Thomas: Were you surprised at how Brock Lesnar looked? How much do you think that sickness, the illness he had hurt him?
Junior dos Santos: Yeah, you know, the waiting, especially that big like Brock Lesnar and Alistair for sure hits really hard. I think he got hurt a little bit on his stomach because you know, they both hit hard and I think Alistair was better in the fight so the only surprise I had was I thought Brock Lesnar would take Alistair Overeem down but he didn't and fighting stand-up Alistair was way better than Brock Lesnar.
Luke Thomas: Alright before we let you go Junior, real quickly, give us a prediction if you can this weekend Jose Aldo fights Chad Mendes and Vitor Belfort fights Anthony Johnson. Who do you predict to win in those two fights?
Junior dos Santos: For sure I think it's gonna be a knockout from Jose Aldo because you know, in my mind, he's the second pound for pound in the world because he's very good. I like his style of fight and Chad Mendes is an undefeated guy but I will be rooting for Jose Aldo for sure. About Vitor Belfort and Anthony Johnson, it's gonna be another very good fight because they both are tough and Vitor Belfort is a very complete fighter and it's gonna be the first time Anthony Johnson fighting at the 185 pounds so it will be very interesting. I think Vitor Belfort is gonna win by TKO or something like that.