Light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos commented on a number of fellow fighters back stage at UFC 235 over the weekend, including Colby Covington and fellow Brazilian standout Johnny Walker.
Las Vegas, NV — Thiago Santos was among the fighters who turned up at UFC 235 over the weekend. While assisting a team mate, he was also keeping a close eye on the main event of Jones vs. Smith. Santos is the man UFC President Dana White likes as the next contender at 205lbs.
“I came here to assist Polyana Viana and also to watch the main event to see who could be my next opponent,” he said back stage on Saturday, with Cageside Press in attendance. “I did what I needed to do to get here and there’s nothing in my path. It’s my time now.”
What he did to get to this point, of course, was win three straight fights after moving up from middleweight. If that sounds familiar, well, it’s the same trajectory Anthony Smith took to get to his own title fight with Jon Jones.
For Santos, it’s been big finishes of Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa, and Jan Blachowicz. Overall, he’s 8-1 in his last nine.
Santos also got to meet Mike Tyson while in town. “[Mike Tyson] is an inspiration to me. He is a knockout artist like I am and it was an incredible moment for me.”
Speaking of knockout artists, fellow Brazilian Johnny Walker has been on quite a tear, and picked up his third straight UFC win at UFC 235. “Beautiful victory,” Santos observed. “He’s doing a great job. Yeah someday at the right time, sure, but it’s a little early to be putting him at that level [in the title picture].”
Walker has said he’s willing to wait for a title shot, in no rush less than a year into his UFC tenure. Which is one less contender for Santos to compete with.
Another fighter Santos commented on Saturday was Colby Covington. Covington was all over Vegas this weekend, in an altercation with new champ Kamaru Usman and his manager Ali Abdelaziz, and hounding Dana White for a title shot. “He’s doing what he has to do,” Santos observed. “He’s the interim champion and he’s trying to dig in and get his shot. That’s what he needs to do.”
It doesn’t look like Santos will have to do the same. While Jon Jones was non-committal about who comes next after this weekend, Dana White appears to be keen on booking Santos in the next light heavyweight title fight.
Watch the full press scrum with Thiago Santos at UFC 235 above.