The shots from Brazil keep on firing – relentlessly. For a while now, Junior dos Santos and his fellow Brazilian Fabricio Werdum have been going at tooth and nail. Though this time, “Vai Cavalo” went straight for dos Santos’ jugular – insinuating “Cigano’s” recent smack talking bonanza (aimed at Werdum) is an attempt at assuming the mantle of UFC lightweight kingpin, and unashamed self-promoter Conor McGregor – the Brazilian McGregor that is.
“I think he wants to be the Brazilian Conor McGregor, and that’s not who he is,” Werdum told MMAFighting. “The old ‘Cigano’ was better, didn’t talk trash, was a cool guy. I think he should be like he used to. I don’t know him that well, but I think he’s talking a lot of crap these days. It would be better to take (the belt) away from him, but I have no preference. I want to fight for the belt, it doesn’t matter who has it. But let’s say it’s 60-40 on ‘Cigano’ in terms of who I would like to fight next.”
Nonetheless, a bemused dos Santos shrugged off Werdum’s comments, but still acknowledged the promotional prowess of “The Notorious.”
“I’m trying to be like Conor? My gosh, man,” the heavyweight said. “Conor is a very talented guy, but, yeah, I’m not trying to be Conor, I’m Junior dos Santos. I don’t need to be Conor. I’m the real deal here in the heavyweight division and that’s more than enough for me.”
The Brazilian Beef began when “JDS” alluded to the fact that Werdum had turned down several fights with him following the shelving of Werdum’s rematch with Cain Velasquez at UFC 207 (the latter sustaining an injury).
Needless to say, Werdum responded in kind – the explicit kind – he took to Facebook – calling dos Santos a “Fucking girl” and finally challenging him to a gym fight.
Back in 2008 at UFC 90, dos Santos, 33, scored a first-round KO over the 39-year-old Werdum.
Save for that one and only meeting, they do have two things in common, viz. they both captured the UFC heavyweight title – a feat they achieved by toppling Velasquez.
Werdum, the most recent holder of the strap literally coughed it up to reigning champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 198.
In the main event at UFC 211, dos Santos (18-4 MMA, 15-3 UFC) will attempt to recapture the heavyweight crown when he comes face-to-face with Miocic – the man he defeated via unanimous decision three years ago.
On the same card, Werdum (21-6-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) will welcome his new dance partner – Ben Rothwell to the Octagon, with a view to an immediate title shot against the winner of the aforementioned duo.