Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos closed out 2015 in the worst way possible, returning to the Octagon after more than a year on the shelf only to be knocked senseless by Alistair Overeem.
Dos Santos was able to correct his course in April of this year, when he took a trip to Zagreb, Croatia to hand the streaking Ben Rothwell a five-round walloping. Unfortunately, that win did not mark the end of the fearsome Brazilian’s streak of bad luck. During his battle with Rothwell, Dos Santos hurt his shoulder, sustaining a level-four injury to his rotator cuff. The severity of this injury forced Dos Santos into surgery, and the recovery from that surgery was expected to take roughly 12 weeks.
Well yesterday, as we braced to turn the pages of our calendars to September, an exultant Dos Santos took to the Internet to announce that he’s been cleared for a return to training. He did so with the kind of video that makes it very easy to forget that he’s one of the most devastating punchers in the history of our sport.
“You want to know the reason I’m so happy right now?” Dos Santos asks through an ear-to-ear smile in the video. “It’s because Dr. Howard Gelb just allowed me to train again, so I’m back to action! Wait for me, cause I’m coming.”
This, of course, is fantastic news for the heavyweight division, as a Dos Santos return to training implies a Dos Santos return to the Octagon in the not too distant future.
To remind, Dos Santos is one of just two men to defeat reigning heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. He’s also one of the only men to defeat Fabricio Werdum, the champion who preceded Miocic. He’s also one of the only two fighters to defeat Cain Velasquez, the champion who reigned before Werdum. So, needless to say, he’s one of the very best heavyweights on the planet.
Of course, it’s difficult to say who Dos Santos will face when he does return to the Octagon, but given the fact that he defeated a bona fide, top-10 heavyweight in Rothwell earlier this year, we can probably expect him to be given a significant test upon his return. Perhaps the winner of Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett’s Saturday night showdown in Hamburg, perhaps the winner of Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne’s rematch the following Saturday, perhaps somebody else—only time will tell.
The important thing here is that the heavyweight division, which is perpetually starving for talent, will soon get a little extra life injected into it as one of its finest fighters is poised for an Octagon return.
Welcome back, JDS.
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