RIO DE JANEIRO — Thiago Santos gave UFC light heavyweight king Jon Jones a tough challenge in July, losing a split decision in the main event of UFC 239. But sharing the cage with the UFC star for 25 minutes came with a costly price.
Back to Brazil after spending more than two months in Las Vegas for double knee surgery and physical therapy, “Marreta” opened the doors of TFT in Rio de Janeiro to show his daily routine of rehabilitation as he prepares to return to action in 2020 (English captions available on the player above).
“Man, the only thing I can’t do is kick, but I can box, I can work on my hands and do conditioning training as well,” Santos told MMA Fighting. “I can even ride a bike. I’m not able to run yet. That’s it. I can do a bunch of things, actually.”
“I can do many things,” he added. “I just can’t run. But I can do a squat, work the upper part of my body, ride a bicycle. There are a few restrictions regarding weightlifting. I can’t lift much weight with my legs, but I can do many things already.”
Because Santos’ recovery is going “faster than expected,” he’s targeting a fight in the second quarter of 2020. Marreta admits it’s “annoying” to be forced out of the gym for so long, but being on the sidelines gave him greater appreciation of the things he wasn’t able to do given his busy schedule in the UFC.
“Sometimes I didn’t give much importance to going out, enjoying my day more, having fun with my family,” said Santos, who fought six times in 12 months before challenging Jones. “I had no time for that since I was always taking one fight after the other, so I’m using this time for that now. To go out (and) enjoy my family, that’s been good. Enjoy the beach, travel, you know? To stay away from the gym.
“I couldn’t do it, but now I can. I can travel, I can hang out with my family. Even having lunch and dinner together during the week, things I couldn’t do because I was always in the gym and had no time.”
The UFC has yet to announce when Jones will return to defend his belt, but Marreta is down for another shot at the UFC championship when he returns.
“If it was only up to me, being 100 percent, I don’t need a tune-up fight,” Santos said. “I don’t need any of that. If I can train 100 percent, I’m sure I will get there ready to fight anyone.”