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Junior dos Santos: ‘My goal was, and still is, to become No. 1 again’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Junior dos Santos’ goal hasn’t changed.

A former UFC heavyweight champion, "Cigano," has suffered two devastating losses to Cain Velasquez in less than one year, but that won’t make him give up on his title aspirations.

Despite the fact that he lost two of the last three fights the heavyweight kingpin, dos Santos believes he could earn another shot at the title when he gets back to the win column.

"You never know how the division will be in the future," dos Santos told MMAFighting.com. "My goal was, and still is, to become the No. 1 again. I will do my best to make that happen as soon as possible.

"I’m taking a time off to relax and take care of my life. I love to be who I am and do what I do, and I’m sure I’ll be back to show my work really soon. I don’t pick opponents, and I will fight whoever the UFC wants."

"Cigano" met Velasquez for the third time at UFC 166, on Oct. 19 in Houston, Texas, and the fight played out basically as the second bout, on December 2012.

"I’ve made some mistakes again. My strategy was to brawl because I believed I would be in an advantage with that," he said. "But my opponent knew how to block my standup game and do what he does best. After every fight I’m getting more experience and learning. The most important thing I’ve learned in this fight is about strategy, and I believe he was better prepared than me."

UFC president Dana White said the fight should have been stopped in the third round. Yuri Carlton, dos Santos’ jiu-jitsu coach, told MMAFighting.com they never considered that option.

"Cigano" thanks him for that.

"I don’t think the fight should have been stopped earlier because Cain and I were both looking for the victory and defending ourselves at the same time to avoid the fight being stopped," he said. "And you can see that because the fight was over when I went for a submission and hit my head on the mat. I was dizzy and couldn’t defend myself, and then (the referee) stopped the fight.

"All my corners know me and know how I react in every situation, and I’m sure they never thought about it. I believed in the victory all the time. They also believe that. I’m not against throwing in the towel, but I also know my limitations and I would never expose myself to a situation I can’t handle. I would be really sad if they have taken that away from me by throwing in the towel, but I’m positive that with my team it would never happen."