Thiago Santos is wholesome and desires an enormous combat for his UFC return.
If mild heavyweight champion Jon Jones is, the truth is, severe about vacating the title and giving the group permission to crown a brand new champion, then Santos (21-7 MMA, 13-6 UFC) is all in on collaborating, ideally in opposition to Dominick Reyes.
“If this stuff occur about Jon, if he actually don’t wish to combat, the sunshine heavyweight division must go ahead,” Santos informed MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “It must proceed. It will probably’t keep stopped. I wish to go in line for the belt in opposition to Jones or in opposition to Dominick Reyes. We by no means know what UFC goes to do. I’m doing what I have to do. I maintain coaching. I’m making ready for when the UFC tells me. I’m going to be 100 p.c prepared. I wish to combat for the belt or somebody within the prime 5.”
The Brazilian has not competed since his razor-thin loss to Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) in Marck 2019 at UFC 235. It was probably the most aggressive combat of Jones’ profession to that time, with Santos being the primary man to take a successful scorecard in opposition to Jones within the cut up determination.
The five-round bout took a toll on Santos, although, as he suffered severe accidents to each knees that required surgical procedure. He’s been methodical in his restoration however stated he’s now utterly cleared for motion.
“(I’m) 100 p.c, man,” Santos stated. “I really feel so good. I prepare every part. I prepare with some companions, I begin to spar. I really feel so good. I prepare every part: wrestling, jiu-jitsu and sparring. I really feel nice. I really feel 100 p.c, and I’m able to combat once more. I’m simply ready for the UFC to inform me the place, in opposition to who, and that’s it.”
If Jones in the end does show to be unavailable, Santos agrees probably the most logical vacant or interim title pairing can be in opposition to Reyes (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC). “The Dominator” was Jones’ subsequent opponent after Santos, and he gave the champion an arguably even stiffer take a look at in shedding a controversial determination this previous February at UFC 247.
Reyes has been pushing for a right away rematch in opposition to Jones, and UFC president Dana White has expressed curiosity in that possibility. Santos stated he was impressed by Reyes’ effort within the title combat, and he stated each of their performances make for a compelling matchup if Jones isn’t a part of the equation.
“He fought so good (in opposition to) Jones,” Santos stated. “I’m actually shocked. He did a very good combat, he did a very good gameplan, and he fought good. Now let’s see what’s going to occur. I’m right here. If UFC tells me it’s Dominick Reyes, I’m 100 p.c for a combat in opposition to him. So, I’m ready for the UFC to inform me. I’m making ready. I’m wholesome, I’m 100 p.c and really feel confidence in my knee and about every part.”
Santos stated he is aware of what he needs to occur, however so far as what will occur, he’s as a lot at midnight as anybody else. His intestine leads him to consider Jones won’t step away completely. Nevertheless, “Marreta” stated he’s prepared to leap on any alternative.
“I don’t consider Jon is retired,” Santos stated. “He fights for what he deserves. I can’t say if he’s proper or improper, however he’s the champion for a very long time, and he fights for what he believes he deserves. However I don’t consider he’ll retire or cease. Perhaps he’ll cease for a couple of months or one yr, however for certain not retirement. He’s younger. He has quite a lot of fights to do. I wish to know. I’m excited for information about (my subsequent) combat and in opposition to who. I’m so excited.”