When the UFC needed a heavyweight star to make an impression on new broadcast partner FOX, they called upon Junior dos Santos. And JDS, along with Cain Velasquez, helped usher in a new age of mainstream acceptance for the sport.
In other words, Dos Santos was the man. But the former champ and TUF coach fell prey to some tough hombres with heavy hands over the years, and that accumulated damage took a toll, with his last bout – against Stipe Miocic – looking like a fighter beating up a human punching bag.
Dos Santos was put on ice following a failed drug test, with USADA taking forever to figure out that it was from a tainted supplement. Now he’s set to return in the main event of UFC Fight Night 133 this weekend, standing opposite former Bellator stud Blagoi Ivanov, and you know what? It’s possible that forced USADA suspension did him some good.
How so? Because it let his brain heal a little bit more, and Dos Santos needs that brain.
The Brazilian’s last three losses came courtesy of Miocic, Alistair Overeem and Velasquez, and they were all knockouts or technical knockouts. That’s a lot of concussion force the grey matter. A rest may have been just what the doctor ordered.
Sure, Dos Santos is only getting older by the minute, with his reflexes and abilities losing their keen edge. In that regard, USADA suspensions are always bad. But in this instance, maybe there’s some upside.
Anyway, here’s JDS in action.