For a guy with a giant sledgehammer tattooed on his chest, Thiago Santos is pretty soft spoken. But he still made it clear after his third round KO of Jan Blachowicz at UFC Prague (watch it here) that he considered himself the rightful #1 contender at 205 pounds.
”I only know how to look forward, and in front of me I see a title shot,” he said through a translator at the post-fight press conference. “I beat the number four [ranked] and number three is fighting for the title. I get the next title shot.”
“I’m definitely not going to be a favorite, you’ll think Jon Jones will beat me. But I’m in this position for a reason. I want my chance, my chance. I deserve it. Just give me an opportunity and I will shock the world.”
Thiago understands all about seizing opportunities. A number of health issues almost took him off UFC Prague, but with champ Jon Jones fighting Anthony Smith next weekend at UFC 235, there’d never be a better time to call dibs on the winner.
”Those last two weeks have been very difficult for me,” Santos said via Combate. “Only I know. I was not walking properly. I almost did not train properly and these two days I spent very badly. Before entering the fight, I was vomiting, I have been feeling sick from the stomach since Friday, vomiting. Only they know what I went through to achieve such a victory. I was very excited.”
His coach Otavio “Tata” Duarte details the last-minute illness, which lasted right up to Santos’ warm-up.
”On Thursday, he had weight loss, he was feeling kind of weird,” Duarte told Combate. “And on Friday, after he hit the weight, he felt very seasick, could not eat, did not regain weight well. On Saturday he spent the whole day with nausea, took fruit to see if it made him feel sick. In the locker room, he vomited, we started to warm up and he wanted to vomit.”
”Thank goodness he has a champion’s mindset and managed to make this wonderful fight. We know he’s ready for a title shot.”
What do you think, Maniacs? Does “Marreta” have what it takes to seize the light heavyweight strap?