Thiago Santos on Heavyweight Debut, Says He’s “Ready to Be Here” Ahead of PFL 4

Uncasville, CT — Thiago Santos, former UFC light heavyweight title challenger, and even before that a middleweight, is something of a surprise entrant in the PFL’s heavyweight tournament.

Santos (22-12, 1NC), who lost to Yoel Romero at the PFL vs. Bellator Champions card earlier this year, is stepping in on short notice to face Denis Goltsov, who went to the finals a year ago.

It all started, as these things often do, with a phone call. “They called me seven days ago. I was training, I was going to the gym. I never stopped training,” Santos told Cageside Press in an interview on Tuesday. “They gave me this opportunity, and I got it.”

As it happens, Santos, who replaces Sergei Bilostenniy against Goltsov, was already considering leaving light heavyweight in his wake.

“I was thinking, don’t fight anymore at 205. It was already hard for me to make this weight. I’m already 40 years old, it’s become hard, making me tired. And I think it has some connection with my injuries.”

Now, “Marreta” gets a multi-time Sambo champion, multi-time PFL semifinalist, and last year’s finalist for the first heavyweight fight of his career. Keep in mind, prior to his UFC run, Santos actually fought as a welterweight. Still, he’s not overly concerned, and excited for the opportunity.

“He’s tough, but nothing different from what I have been fighting before. I’ve been fighting the best guys in the world,” stated Santos. “So he’s one of the best, he’s a tough opponent. He’s tall, he’s talented, good striker, good grappling. I like to challenge myself, that’s why I’m here.”

One thing Thiago Santos made clear is that he’s not joining the season just to compete. “I want to go there, take the W, take the win, make six points and move forward to the next [round].”

As for his last season, at 205lbs, which ended early and saw him suspended for an elevated T/E ratio, “I cannot control what people say. What I can control is control my mind. I don’t care what people say, it’s about myself, it’s about me, about my family, people around me. They know me,” he stated.

And when it comes to his lack of success in recent years, “I was honest with myself,” Santos added. “If I’m here, believe me, I’m ready to be here. I feel I still can do it. I’m doing this every day, I go to the gym training twice a day, six days a week. So I was honest with myself. When I feel that I cannot do it, I will not put myself inside this. If I’m here, I’m ready for that.”

Watch our full interview with PFL 4’s Thiago Santos above.