Justin Willis was interested in a fight with Tai Tuivasa next. And then he wasn’t.
Willis defeated Mark Hunt by unanimous decision Saturday night at UFC Adelaide in Australia. In the main event of the card, Hunt’s teammate Tuivasa was knocked out by Junior dos Santos. After the defeat, Tuivasa called out Willis, who got into it with Hunt’s team this week at weigh-ins.
“Justin Willis, you little bitch,” Tuivasa said. “I’m coming for you, boy.”
In a post-fight media scrum, Willis laughed off Tuivasa’s challenge. He said he was only interested in fighting the Aussie if he beat dos Santos.
“He’s concussed,” Willis said (h/t Submission Radio). “I mean, the guy just lost in his home country — how embarrassing. It’s one of those things where you’re the main event, you come in here and get knocked out and you call out a guy who beat up your daddy. You’re gonna have to win a fight or two and then we can talk. I’m off to greener and brighter pastures. Top five. I’m after a belt. And he’s not that guy right now.”
Willis (8-1) said Tuivasa’s idea just didn’t compute to him. “Big Pretty” has now won all four of his UFC fights and is angling to get closer to a title shot. He ragged on Tuivasa and his team a bit, noting also that Tyson Pedro lost to Mauricio Rua at UFC Adelaide.
“If he won,” Willis said, explaining his earlier desire to fight Tuivasa. “But it’s mine now. Dos Santos is now. It got taken, literally. It got taken. Shogun. They lost. No offense to them at all. People lose. It’s one of those things where, they lost. So he can’t be calling out a guy who won. It doesn’t make sense. That’s ignorant, that’s foolish.”
When asked about the incident involving Tuivasa and Pedro at weigh-ins following Willis’ heated staredown with Hunt, Willis didn’t go into much detail
“I mean, c’mon man, he’s protecting his daddy,” Willis said of Tuivasa. “What do you expect him to do? This is the fight game, not the light game. I’m not in there to make friends. I’m here to dominate these guys, by any means necessary. I’m here to win. I don’t care if it’s a decision, I don’t care if it’s a knockout, split decision. I don’t give a flying you know what.”
Willis, 31, was equally as dismissive of Tuivasa’s performance against dos Santos, particularly the closing seconds. Dos Santos had trapped Tuivasa in mount and Tuivasa attempted to punch his way out.
“A guy punching from his back, how moronic is that?” Willis said. “You don’t punch from your back. He needs to take a few jiu-jitsu classes and maybe needs to do a little bit of wrestling.”