TUF Brazil 2 winner Leonardo Santos has arguably had his biggest struggle outside of the cage: consistency.
The lightweight (who won his season of The Ultimate Fighter at 170lbs) is undefeated in the UFC. 7-0-1 as of UFC 251 on Saturday night, where the Brazilian defeated newcomer Roman Bogatov by unanimous decision.
That’s an impressive run in any division. The problem is, it dates back to 2013. Seven years. Barely above a fight per year.
Speaking to Cageside Press following the win, Santos (18-3-1) admitted that he wants to up the frequency at which he fights. “That’s what I want. I want to fight more times. I hope that Sean Shelby and the UFC give me more opportunities,” he told us.
“I started in UFC in 2013. [I’ve had] eight fights, and I’m still undefeated. I want to enjoy this more if possible,” Santos added.
At 40, Leoardo Santos is yet to feel the effects of age. Even with the coronavirus pandemic raging, he’s managed to stay in shape. “I thought it was hard times, because of the pandemic, COVID. It was a little bit hard for us to find people to help us to train,” he admitted. “But the body’s still good. Still healthy. That’s why I want to fight as soon as possible. Because you never know. The sport of MMA is so hard. You never know when you’ll get an injury, when you’re healthy. I look for a fight as soon as possible.”
As for fighting in an empty arena on Fight Island on Saturday night, that was no problem. “That for me is easy. I did this in TUF. And alone. The guys, not there. My friends not there. Just me and God. That’s no problem for me,” he told us. “Fighting without people is weird, I miss them, but what can you do?”
Watch our full UFC 251 virtual post-fight interview with Leonardo Santos above.