Many people believe Thiago Santos will struggle to get past UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones tomorrow night (Sat., July 6, 2019) at UFC 239 live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and rightfully so.
While Santos has been an absolute nightmare for opponents since moving up to 205 pounds late last year he’s about to face the greatest fighter in MMA history. It’s an extremely tough task to complete, especially considering Jones has never been defeated inside of the Octagon, but it’s something that Santos feels confident in entering UFC 239’s main event.
The streaking Brazilian contender certainly acknowledges the legendary accomplishments of Jones, but believes the champion is just another man who hurts and feels pain like the rest of us.
“We can’t take the merit (away from) Jon Jones,” Santos said earlier this week at UFC 239’s media day (h/t MMA Junkie). “He’s a great fighter. He’s done what he’s done with all these tough guys. But at the end of the day, he’s a man who has two legs and two arms. I don’t care how big of a fighter or how big of a name he has. I’m going to go out there and beat him.
“I’m aware of the challenge, but I look at him as just another man who feels and bleeds just like everybody else. It’s never easy. I know the challenge that’s in front of me. I’m sure he’s very well prepared as I am, and I’m going to go out there and show that.”
Santos, who failed to lock down a UFC title shot at middleweight through 15 fights in five years, quickly rose the ranks at light heavyweight with consecutive knockout finishes over Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa, and most recently Jan Blachowicz. He looks more suited for the bigger weight class and has really put the squeeze on opponents in the striking department.
Despite his success at 205 pounds, fight fans everywhere are worried that “Marreta” is biting off more than he can chew against a complete fighter like Jones. But despite Jones possessing more skill and experience in almost every facet, Santos has the ability to finish the fight with one single shot.
So even though fight fans, along with the oddsmakers, are skeptical about the Brazilian’s chances to upset Jones this weekend in Vegas, the 35-year-old finisher is ready to lay the smack down.
“I’m ready,” Santos said. “It is what it is. I think the fans are more nervous than I am.”
If Santos is able to defeat Jones and hand him his first true loss inside of the cage he’ll forever be cemented in MMA history. But if the Brazilian falls flat in his first ever UFC title shot he’ll become just another statistic in Jones’ pursuit of all-time greatness.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 239 fight card below, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.