With a three fight winning streak already in his pocket, the former heavyweight champion believes without a doubt that a fourth consecutive victory against a monster like Ngannou will cement his position as the No. 1 contender in the division.
“I think there’s nowhere else to go. Who are they going to put in front of us? Nobody,” dos Santos said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “The winner of the fight will fight for the title for sure.”
With that kind of incentive on the line, dos Santos definitely has a vested interest in the fighter he might face next should he get through Ngannou on Saturday night.
Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will defend his title against Stipe Miocic in a rematch as the main event at UFC 241 in August. Cormier finished Miocic with a stunning first round knockout in their initial meeting in 2018 but now they will square off again with the belt up for grabs.
While dos Santos has never been in the Octagon with Cormier, he’s spent plenty of time preparing for Miocic after they split a pair of fights in 2014 and 2017.
Dos Santos definitely has a lot of respect for Cormier’s skill set not to mention the resume he’s put together throughout his career but when asked to make a prediction, the Brazilian feels like the title is about to switch hands again.
“I think Stipe can get it back,” dos Santos said. “It’s going to be a good fight. This is the right thing to do right now. That Brock Lesnar thing was B.S. but this is the right thing to do right now with this rematch between them. I believe this time Miocic is coming more prepared. He knows how dangerous Cormier is. He knows how dangerous his game is. He can take you down but he can throw very hard punches, too.
“The first fight, Miocic was trying to exchange grappling skills with Cormier and it closed the distance and that was a mistake in my opinion. This time he’s going to come back more prepared for that. I can tell you Miocic has knockout power. His hands are really heavy. I really believe he’s going to win this fight by TKO.”
If Miocic is successful in his campaign to recapture the heavyweight title, dos Santos hopes that they can meet in a trilogy in the future.
Dos Santos has no personal grudge against the Cleveland, OH native but after suffering a first round knockout loss to him in their last meeting, he’s got some unfinished business that he beleives has to be finished.
“That fight is one of the fights I’m looking forward to having in my career. I need to have it actually,” dos Santos explained. “Because the first fight was a tough fight but I won. The second fight, I was moving around and I brought a different strategy. I was kicking his leg and he was feeling the leg. He was feeling the way I thought he would feel but then he started to walk forward and I did the mistake to allow him to get closer. Of course, Miocic has knockout power and he connected with one and I went down and he won the fight and that’s fine.
“I learned a lot from that but I really believe I am the better fighter. I know he broke the record [for most title defenses] and everything but that doesn’t mean he’s the best heavyweight here. I am working very hard to prove that I am this guy so this fight with Miocic has to happen.”