Two things were made clear to UFC president Dana White on Saturday at UFC 166, champion Cain Velasquez is the best of the best in the heavyweight division, and Junior dos Santos (pictured) will have to settle for being the best of the rest.
Unfortunately for dos Santos, there’s no consolation prize for taking the runner-up crown. With two lopsided losses to Velasquez in less than 10 months, White isn’t sure what the murky path towards the title now looks like for “Cigano” as long as Velasquez is sitting atop the throne.
“Two vicious beatings – vicious,” White stated after their trilogy. “By the end of the first round going into the second, [dos Santos’] face was already starting to look different. I mean, Cain beat him up both times real bad. I don’t know.
“Going into this fight, I said about both these guys is, ‘No matter who wins [at UFC 166], these guys knock off most of the other guys, I think.’ I think they’re the two best. But then you’ve got to question, coming off a beating like Junior dos Santos has had twice … I don’t know.”
While White was at a loss for words, dos Santos knew exactly what to say.
After the mauling, the always-classy dos Santos congratulated Velasquez for taking it to him for the second straight time and promised he’ll be back to make another title run. Then agian, what’s he supposed to say, ‘I’ll accept being the gatekeeper for Cain even though I’m three years younger than him’?
In reality, even if dos Santos rips off another torrid run to solidify his spot as the division’s top contender, it’s tough to justify a fourth tango between the two given what took place in their most recent meetings. It might be even tougher to sell that pay-per-view, and that’s really what White is interested in.
Second place is the first loser. Unfortunately for dos Santos, second will be the only first he can stake claim to as long as Velasquez is king.