Junior dos Santos (pictured) wasn’t fighting for the title Saturday at UFC 188, but the former heavyweight champion still had plenty of skin in the game. Needless to say, dos Santos left Mexico a happy hombre.
Well, MMA’s nicest 265-pounder is always all smiles anyway, but Cain Velasquez’s upset loss to Fabrico Werdum probably had JDS flipping countless Yes! Cartwheels.
It was like an NFL team winning during a bye week because their division rival lost at home to a heavy underdog.
Dos Santos was the UFC’s second ranked heavyweight prior to Saturday, and he’ll likely stay at that spot with Velasquez moving down a notch since he no longer owns gold. However, there’s once again hope JDS could find his way back into a title tilt now that Velasquez doesn’t sit atop the throne.
Prior to getting submitted by Werdum, Velasquez’s only professional defeat came in a 64-second knockout loss to dos Santos. The highlight-reel KO cost Velasquez his crown.
Although, Velasquez emphatically avenged the devastating loss in their rematch and trilogy, manhandling and remodeling dos Santos’ mug on both occasions. Dos Santos was the division’s second best, but still far behind Velasquez, who the UFC had dubbed “The Baddest Man on the Planet.”
Velasquez only defended his crown four times and didn’t look sharp against Werdum, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll be gifted an immediate rematch. Furthermore, he’s been injured more than not as the division’s king, so the UFC wouldn’t mind new blood hoisting the hardware for a while.
In slides dos Santos, who was sitting front and center watching his title hopes reappear with a slick guillotine choke by Werdum following Velasquez’s sloppy takedown attempt.
In addition, dos Santos holds a 2008 TKO victory over Werdum that I’m sure “Vai Cavalo” would like to make right.
UFC president Dana White didn’t confirm who Werdum would break in his undisputed belt against, but dos Santos, who has won two of his past three shootouts, might make the most sense.