Thiago Santos has struggled since his 2019 classic with Jon Jones, losing two subsequent bouts against Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic.
That leaves the Brazilian in something of a tough spot heading into his UFC Vegas 38 main event opposite Johnny Walker.
During this week’s media day to promote the event, Santos acknowledged the losses, but appears to be taking them in stride. “It’s always hard to have losses, but I’m okay about that. I understand everything,” Santos (21-9) stated. “I just came from a big injury. Those two fights that I had, it’s a part of my recovery. Now I feel 100%; I’m sure I will be better than my last two fights.”
While not one to make excuses, Santos knows that he wasn’t 100%, and still recovering, in those previous fights. During the fight with Jones, “Maretta” had torn just about every ligament you can tear in your knee. ACL, PCL, MCL, meniscus. Not to mention a partially fractured tibia, and that was just in one leg. The other sustained damage as well.
“You can see that against Glover, I didn’t kick. I think I threw one kick,” he noted. “But against Rakic I kicked more, I moved better, so I’m growing. Progress. This fight I will be so much better.”
As for Walker, “he’s a little bit crazy, but he do good [at] what he does. He has some knockouts, good fights. I’m prepared, I’m ready for that.” During camp, his sparring partners did a good job copying Walker’s unpredictable style, Santos believes.
What he’s looking for against Walker is to prove something. “I need to prove not for anyone, just for me, that I’m one of the best in the world. I will do it this Saturday.”
One way Santos described the main event fight: “fireworks.” And while he knows that sometimes two explosive fighters can fizzle when paired up with each other, Santos added that “I’m sure this fight is not gonna be five rounds.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 38 media day scrum with Thiago Santos above. More coverage can be found below. The event takes place this Saturday, October 2 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.