UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos has one thing on his mind: UFC gold.
The heavy-handed Brazilian has been a part of the UFC roster since 2013 but has yet to earn a shot at competing for a championship. But following his crippling TKO win over Jan Blachowicz in the main event of UFC Prague on Saturday, “Marreta” expects this to change.
“I beat the number four [ranked light heavyweight] and number three is fighting for the title,” Santos said through a translator at the UFC Prague post-fight press conference. “I get the next title shot.”
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) won back his 205-pound belt with a third-round TKO win over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in December, pushing his unbeaten streak to 15. Smith (32-13), who came up short against Santos in their middleweight fight in Feb. 2017, earned his shot at Jones’ title after rattling off three straight stoppage wins following his jump up to light heavyweight.
On paper, Jones is clearly the runaway favorite. But as long as the champion doesn’t “underestimate” Smith inside the Octagon, Santos likes his chances against the future Hall of Famer.
“I know if I fight Jon Jones, he’s going to be the favorite,” Santos said. “But I’ve been shocking the world and I’m going to shock it again. All I want is my opportunity.”