Should Junior Dos Santos retire from UFC and MMA? At least one reporter thinks so.
Daniel Paiz of realsport101.com writes It might be too soon to be bringing up such a topic, but such inconsistencies shown by the former champ indicate otherwise.
Will the 33-year-old Brazilian recover from the “issues” and reinvent himself and make his way back toward a heavyweight title shot?
In the story, Paiz gives a synopsis of Dos Santos’ reasons for leaving the sport that made him a household name. While the world of Mixed Martial Arts is uncertain, “Even when it appears that whoever is at the top or about to be there cannot fall. Because things are constantly changing and no one is safe, Junior Dos Santos is yet another fighter who likely has reached his peak.”
Dos Santos, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, successfully defended his title against Frank Mir at UFC 146 before losing it in a rematch with Cain Velazquez. It was Velazquez who he defeated in 64 seconds of the first round via KO to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship in 2011.
Now, the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder appears to be a shadow of himself.
Paiz wrote the one thing that is keep Dos Santos from another run at the top of the UFC food chain is his hands.
“For as much power as he possesses behind that powerful right hand, he keeps them down far too often, especially in his recent loss to current heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic,” Paiz writes. “When he was hit with a few hard shots from the defending champ, his hands weren’t up in a defensive position; it’s shocking that such a talented striker still at times doesn’t practice such a vital aspect of striking.”
In a sport that has had its share of heavyweight champions that have been larger than life. Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar and Rampage Jackson have all carried the flag of the promotion, paving the way for champions like Dos Santos and Velazquez.
Dos Santos turned professional in 2006 at the age of 22. He fought in small promotions in Brazil such as Demo Fight, Extreme Fighting Championship, Minotauro Fights and Mo Team League. He won six of his first seven bouts, suffering his only loss to Joaquim Ferreira, a fighter he had previously beaten. He joined UFC in 2008.
The use of Dos Santos’ hands are just part of the package that seems to be fractured. His chin is exposed. He is not as protected as he once was. There are younger UFC fighters stepping into the ring. And then there is the inconsistency Paiz points out.
“Three victories, four defeats. That’s what “JDS” has achieved in his last seven fights, dating back to his loss to Cain Velasquez in 2012. Of the four defeats, three have been by way of knockout (the fourth was by unanimous decision),” he offered.
“Add the fact that he has fought at most two fights a year in that same time period, and time is against his mission to get back to the top. It’s not completely out of the question that Dos Santos can earn his way back to another UFC title fight, but it is unlikely given the barriers that are slowly starting to pile up against him.”
Time away from the ring should have allowed him to work on his skills after each match. The time off may in fact have hurt him. He still can strike and hurt is opponents, and still draws well from the fan base. He is still loved as a heavyweight, but since he has not shown consistency in the ring, maybe it is time to walk away or take time off to rebuild what appears to be lacking in his overall performance.