UFC 256: Junior Dos Santos Responds to Critics, From Journalists to Commentators

“What do you know about fighting, just by watching?” As he looks to snap a three-fight skid, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos questions his critics.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos (21-8) knows he’s had a rough go of things lately. The will has been there, the results have not. Losses have piled up, albeit to a murder’s row in Jair Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes, and Francis Ngannou.

“I’m trying to push things forward and add to it to keep moving forward. I cannot do anything to change the past, but I can do a lot to change things for my future,” dos Santos said during the UFC 256 media day this week. “The last results of my fights weren’t good, they were bad actually. So now I’m trying to make it different.”

As to what needs to change, and whether it’s a matter of the mental game, “it’s hard to say, man. We try to understand the things sometimes, guessing that there is something wrong over there because the result wasn’t expected. But man, I feel great. I was feeling great my last fights, and if you watch the fights, I was winning the fights, so at some point, then I got cut, and my opponents won, got the victory,” he explained

“I keep working very hard on everything I do,” he added, and that includes his psychological game. “It’s a hard sport, it’s hard to understand things, and the best thing that I can do is keep working hard, keep in believing myself.”

As dos Santos sees it, “the performance is there, the power is there, the stamina is there, my will to become champion again is there. Everything is right there, but the results are not coming. Of course I’ll try my best to turn things around and go back to my winning streak.”

In something of a rare occurrence against a much newer fighter, Junior Dos Santos is the underdog heading into Saturday’s bout against Ciryl Gane. JDS is known for putting a positive spin on things, but when it comes to the odds, and the critics, he tunes them out for the most part. “My motivation doesn’t come from other opinions. Everybody has an opinion about something in life,” said Dos Santos, who noted that these days, it’s a lot easier for people to express those opinions. Of course, if someone provides some valid criticism, he’ll work on it.

But, he continued, “even people in MMA that work as journalists or whatever, you’ve never got slapped in the face. What do you know about fighting, by just watching? Why do you believe that your opinion should be something that I have to absorb, I have to bring to my reality?” Nor is it just journalists, he added. Even commentators fall into that trap. “Because you go to the gym or do one or two classes, you think you understand that much about fighting? It’s not like that.”

“I have this thing very well understood in my life. I believe in myself,” the former champ stated.

Watch the full UFC 256 virtual media day pres scrum with Junior dos Santos above. The event takes place this Saturday, December 12 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.