Through a process that is not entirely understood, heavyweights in boxing and MMA peak significantly older than do fighters in the lighter weight divisions. They also take a ferocious amount of punishment. The combination can be unsettling.
At 32, former champion Junior Dos Santos is the youngest heavyweight in the UFC’s top 10. And he has been in wars for four of his last five fights, sometimes leaving his face misshapen.
Dos Santos holds the longest winning streak in UFC Heavyweight division history, with nine, but is just 2-3 his last five. Two of the losses though were to Cain Velasquez. His last fight was a TKO loss to Alistair Overeem in Round 2. It was his sole fight in 2015. 2014 saw a single fight as well, a win over Stipe Miocic.
Dos Santos appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, and said that the damage he takes is not as bad as it looks.
“Yes, there were some tough fights for me,” said JDS as transcribed by Guilherme Cruz for MMA FIghting. “I took a lot of damage, but I get swollen very easy and I get cut very easy too. For the people that were watching the fight, I was looking worse than I really was, you know? Those fights were pretty hard for me, but I’m learning with everything. This one now, with Alistair Overeem, was something very, very strange for me. That’s hard, that’s really hard part of the game.”
“[I will fight] as long as I can, you know? I wanna have a long career, for sure. I know I’m not showing for everybody everything that I got to show, so I’m working on these things. As soon as I find myself in the Octagon again, I’ll be okay to put on a good performance and get back to my winning streak.
“I wanna fight as long as I can. I wanna be like Randy Couture, who fought until he was 47 years old or something. I wanna be one of those guys.”