Junior Dos Santos: The UFC's Forgotten Star

Uh, guys? Guys?

Aren't we all forgetting something here?

It's pretty important, actually. Not, like, water and food important, but at least as important as remembering to turn off the stove after using it.

Well, at least in MMA terms it is.

What is it?

Well, it's the fact that Junior Dos Santos is still the second-best heavyweight on Earth, a proper star in Brazil with some crossover appeal in North America, and he'd probably be holding the title of "baddest man on the planet" in a world where Cain Velasquez didn't exist.

See what I mean? It does seem kind of important, doesn't it?

Dos Santos is the only man who can claim to have bested the current world champion, and though he paid for that win by taking 10 straight rounds of relentless beating from Velasquez in rematches, no one can take that one positive result from him.

No heavyweight in the promotion is particularly close to him in terms of his stand-up game, which has evolved to include wheelkicks (!!!), his defensive wrestling is pretty good when it's not Velasquez pursuing the takedowns and even his largely unseen submission game is buoyed by a Yuri Carlton black belt.

The guy is, by almost any imaginable metric, pretty awesome.

And yet, with nearly a year of his prime taken away by recovery and injury now, he's kind of become a forgotten commodity. If a fight between him and anyone on the roster was announced tomorrow, it would be met with excitement thanks to the knowledge that he's guaranteed to put on a show, but no one seems to be actively pondering what his return may look like.

Could it involve Travis Browne, the type of athlete the Brazilian has never seen opposing him before?

How about, should he fail in his November title bid, Fabricio Werdum, who Dos Santos starched in 2008 as a means of announcing his own arrival to the world?

Maybe Stipe Miocic, a preposterously exciting matchup of sluggers who know only forward momentum?

What about the long-gestating blowoff between he and Alistair Overeem, the culmination of a feud simmering for literally years?

Best fight for JDS upon his UFC return?

All of those are incredibly enticing fights for Dos Santos, each one slightly different than the other but all standing on the common ground of being about as exciting as any matchup heavyweight can produce these days.

There's been plenty made of the lack of star power the UFC calendar offered in the first half of 2014, and while the argument mostly centered around names like Velasquez, Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva, Dos Santos has been missed as well.

That type of explosive, thrilling heavyweight—one who doesn't greatly lose pace in 25 minutes of combat, who can take shots that would stop a polar bear dead and keep coming—is rare, and when he's in the cage, people are paying attention.

Weirdly, though, perhaps because of so many big names being sidelined with him, the Dos Santos absence hasn't been focused on so much. It's just kind of happened, and his return has become something fans aren't even pondering anymore.

Well, start pondering.

With a degree of depth at the top of the heavyweight division and a number of incredibly exciting matchups for him when he returns, there's plenty of reason to be enthusiastic about the former champ's eventual return to the Octagon.

Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC 205's Stephen Thompson on title-fight strategy vs. Woodley: 'Try to Muhammad Ali him'

  • 29 days ago
  • 12 views

Stephen Thompson is ready for the best and worst-case scenarios as the days wind down to him challenging Tyron Woodley for the UFC welterweight championship in the UFC 205 co-main event.Filed under: read news >>

The Complete Guide to UFC Fight Night 98: Dos Anjos vs. Ferguson

  • 29 days ago
  • 19 views

The UFC returns to Mexico City on Saturday with a card full of strong matchups on Fox Sports 1. In the main event, former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos looks to get back on track against the read news >>

Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez Light It Up! (UFC 205 Media Call Replay) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 14 views

Listen to the UFC 205 media call replay, where Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez went tooth and nail, fielding questions from the media. read news >>

Commentator Jon Anik Breaks Down UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Ferguson

  • 28 days ago
  • 3 views

The UFC returns to Fox Sports 1 this Saturday, November 5 with a stacked offering featuring a barnburner of a main event between former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson, a fire read news >>

McGregor, Alvarez trade challenges, barbs before UFC 205 clash

  • 29 days ago
  • 7 views

UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor exchanged verbal jabs on the UFC 205 media conference call. Alvarez isn't impressed with the Irish sensation and M read news >>

After McGregor, UFC champ Eddie Alvarez focused on No. 1 contenders: 'I'll make UFC great again'

  • 28 days ago
  • 18 views

The UFC lightweight division historically has been one of the most difficult to stay champion. Current divisional kingpin Eddie Alvarez, however, thinks he has what it takes to buck the trend.Filed u read news >>

Two Fighters Miss Weight at UFC Mexico City Weigh-in | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 52 views

The UFC Fight Night 98: dos Anjos vs. Ferguson early official weigh-in took place Friday morning in Mexico City with two fighters missing weight. read news >>

UFC heads to Phoenix for Jan. 15 Fight Night event

  • 27 days ago
  • 8 views

The UFC will return to Phoenix for the first time since December 2014 when UFC Fight Night 103 comes to ‘Arizona’s Urban Heart’ on Jan. 15.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Announces First Event of 2017 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 27 days ago
  • 14 views

Though the UFC's slate of events for 2016 has been laid out for quite some time, the promotion on Friday finally made its first event announcement for 2017. read news >>

Watch the UFC Fight Night Mexico City Weigh-in LIVE at 7 PM ET | MMAWeekly.com

  • 27 days ago
  • 31 views

The 26 fighters competing on Saturday's UFC Fight Night Mexico City fight card officially weighed in on Friday with two fighters missing weight. read news >>