Photo by Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
LAS VEGAS -- If you want to get a heavy sigh and a weary look out of UFC president Dana White, ask him to engage in some press conference matchmaking right after the evening’s fights have concluded. At the same time, when White says he likes the idea of giving Cain Velasquez the next shot at Junior dos Santos’s heavyweight title after both men were victorious at UFC 146, that’s about as solid a commitment as you can hope for on fight night.
"I like that fight," White said, when a JDS-Velasquez rematch was suggested early on in the post-fight press conference. "Cain deserves the next fight."
He’ll get no arguments from Velasquez, who told reporters that "the only reason [he] got into this sport was to be the champ." After losing his title via first-round knockout to dos Santos in his first defense last November, Velasquez rebounded with a brutal beating of Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in Saturday night’s co-main event, culminating in a late stoppage by referee Josh Rosenthal that White deemed "horrible."
"First of all, [Silva] had blood in his eyes, nose, and throat," White said. "He couldn’t see or breathe, and he’s getting smashed over and over and over. Come on. That was as bad as bad can be. Rosenthal blew that stoppage bad. I hate that s--t."
While that might have been bad news for Silva, it made for an impressive first-round TKO for Velasquez. If that makes him next in line for a crack at the title, it’s fine with dos Santos, the champion said.
"Cain Velasquez is really tough," dos Santos said. "For my mind, he’s very different in this division. He’s very fast and his stamina is really good for our division. For sure, he’s dangerous and a good fight. But I don’t care about who’s going to be my opponent. Whoever the UFC wants to put to fight against me, I’ll be watching his fights and making my strategy to beat him. If I have to fight with Cain Velasquez again, let’s do it."
As for Velasquez, he again refused to comment on whether existing injuries might have played a role in his loss to dos Santos, but insisted that the rematch would see him employ a much different game plan.
"I think [I have to] bring more the fight to him than I did before," Velasquez said. "I stayed too long on the outside where he’s dangerous. He has those fast, heavy hands, with good footwork."
That footwork is something Frank Mir found out about in his unsuccessful title bid. he fast hands were one thing, he said, but he could deal with that. The footwork was the toughest aspect of the champ’s game to deal with, said Mir.
"He basically got to [dictate] when the fight took place. He got to jump in, throw punches, and then before I could retaliate he would jump back out. When I moved forward and tried to throw punches at him, he just was never there."
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