They say patience is a virtue and if that old adage holds any truth to it than Junior dos Santos is the living, breathing epitome of it.
Though dos Santos has long been considered the top contender to challenge for the UFC heavyweight title the soft-spoken Brazilian has had to play the waiting game while reigning champion Cain Velasquez was out of commission with an injury that sidelined him for most of 2011.
During this time dos Santos, arguably, had his biggest win to date in beating up Shane Carwin over three rounds.
Finally, it seems that dos Santos’ patience will reap its rewards when he enters the Octagon on Saturday in what has got to be the biggest fight in the history of the UFC when their fight is featured on the inaugural UFC on FOX. The card will mark the first time that the UFC will be broadcast live on network television. For dos Santos it is an opportunity that seems to be beyond belief.
“It was such a long wait for my title shot, but I am not sorry,” explained dos Santos on a media call last week. “This, right now, is the greatest opportunity I could have had, fighting for the world heavyweight title live on FOX for the very first time.”
“Truly I’m very proud. I’m proud to be a part of history. It’s very gratifying to be a part of this and it’s an honor to be fighting [Velasquez]. I’m just very thankful for the opportunity. “
By all accounts dos Santos is one of the most humble and thankful fighters you will ever meet. Despite having the capability of beating in your head with his fists dos Santos comes off as a genially nice guys. No doubt this is a byproduct of living in poverty as a child but it is refreshing to see humility when a lesser person would be jaded.
“Yes, I come from humble beginnings, but I have been very lucky in my life, explained dos Santos. “I believe that we reap what we sow. I know the value of everything I’ve achieved. My life has already changed for the better. It’s changed for me and for my family.”
Whether it is luck, talent, or a mixture of both dos Santos has his hands full with Velasquez. Not only is Velasquez as big and strong as dos Santos, but the champion also has superior wrestling that augments his game to unfathomable heights. The way that Velasquez eviscerated former champion Brock Lesnar should stand out as a cautionary warning to what this man can do. While the prospects of facing such a daunting task would have most people praying for their lives dos Santos takes it all in stride.
“It’s been a really great camp,” said dos Santos. “I know Cain is going to be a tough fighter but I’m confident I will come out the winner.”
“I’ve been training a lot for a five round fight. I feel good. I’ll be ready for five round if it goes five rounds but honestly I don’t think it’s going to go five rounds. I look forward to meeting up with Cain Velasquez at his best.”