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Thiago Santos talks frustration of going from UFC Gdansk main event to Sao Paulo bout with Jack Hermansson

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UFC 198 Weigh-ins
Thiago Santos was close to headlining UFC Gdansk.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Thiago Santos was close to headlining a UFC event for the first time since joining the company in 2013, but he ended up matched against Jack Hermansson at UFC Sao Paulo instead.

“Marreta" was offered a five-round middleweight bout with Michal Materla atop the bill at UFC Gdansk, however the Polish star decided instead to re-sign with KSW. Now, booked to fight Hermansson a week later on Oct. 28, Santos doesn’t want to look back at what could have happened.

"It was at first, yes,” Santos told MMA Fighting when asked if the change was frustrating, "but I thought about it and God knows what he does. If it didn’t happen, it’s because I wasn’t supposed to fight in Poland. I’ll move forward, win this fight, and something bigger will definitely come next."

Santos, who holds wins over the likes of Nate Marquardt, Elias Theodorou and Steve Bosse in the UFC, was hoping to face big names in the division after scoring back-to-back knockout wins over Gerald Meerschaert and Jack Marshman — and Hermansson wasn’t on his radar.

“It didn’t even cross my mind, I was expecting a bigger name,” Santos said. "When the main event in Poland fell through, they offered him in Sao Paulo a week after. I don’t turn fights down, I don’t pay attention to the rankings. He’s coming off good wins, so I accepted it. It’s going to be a good fight. I’ll definitely win.

"I think it will be an exciting contest,” he continued, "but when I find the distance and timing, he won’t be able to stand with me anymore. He’s a fast middleweight, he moves a lot like me, switches stances. It’s going to be a good chess match."

Like he always does for most of his fights, the TFT middleweight was planning on traveling to American Top Team in Florida to train for seven weeks ahead of UFC Sao Paulo, however Hurricane Irma forced him to change plans.

"I only had to postpone the trip for two weeks because of the hurricane,” said Santos, who instead trained at ATT for five weeks. "I didn’t lose two weeks because I kept training in Rio, so it wasn’t a big deal. If I had to postpone a week or two more I wouldn’t have gone because it wouldn’t be worth it, but thank God the hurricane changed its course and they avoided more serious damage.”

“Marreta" is thankful that his friends and teammates avoided serious problems with Irma, but would’ve liked to be in Florida when the hurricane arrived in order to help the citizens.

"If I could, I would’ve gone earlier to help the people in Florida,” Santos said. "I have a lot of friends there, but thank God nothing major happened."