Junior Dos Santos
- Full name Junior Dos Santos Almeida
- Nickname Cigano
- Birth date September 12, 1984
- Birth place Caçador, Santa Catarina
- Current age 31 years 260 days
- Height 6 ft 4 in
- Weight 239 lb
It's a well-known fact in MMA that if you land a leg kick perfectly, it sounds different. Rather than the more spectacular-sounding slap, you get an understated but ultimately bone-crunching thud. The same can be said of Junior Dos Santos' punches, which sound different to any thrown by his rivals, and he has a rapidly-growing casualty list to prove it.
The former UFC heavyweight champion is arguably the least likely individual on the entire UFC roster to carry a lethal streak. The Brazilian never stops smiling, he freely admits he hated fighting as a child, yet when he steps inside an Octagon his currency is pain.
Blessed with some of the best boxing skills the sport has witnessed, it's difficult to know which punch is Dos Santos' best. He announced his UFC arrival with an uppercut knockout of Fabricio Werdum, before going on to batter Stefan Struve and Mirko Cro Cop into submission (the latter quite literally did submit to the onslaught).
Gilbert Yvel was taken out with one brutal hook, Shane Carwin was picked apart by the Dos Santos jab, and in between there were further wins over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Quite simply, every punch thrown by Dos Santos carries bad intentions, and his footwork makes it tough to stop.
Certainly Cain Velasquez could not get near him in the UFC's debut on Fox, the biggest fight in UFC history according to president Dana White. Taking on the then-reigning champion, Dos Santos dispatched the favourite in 64 seconds to clinch UFC gold.
However, Velasquez later took revenge on Dos Santos, snatching back his title at the end of 2012, so JDS is set for the first rebuilding period of his UFC career.
Truly the night Junior Dos Santos announced himself on the global stage. The Brazilian was a heavy underdog - only one of 11 UFC fighters interviewed before the fight tipped JDS to beat Velasquez. However, in a 64-second striking clinic Dos Santos peppered his target before slamming an overhand right into his rival's temple to spark victory.
If Dos Santos' victory over Velasquez was emphatic, the rematch was just as lop-sided in the other direction. The Brazilian was battered for 25 minutes as his cardio and grappling failed to hold up under Velasquez's incessant pressure.
"Will I finish with the left one or the right one? Probably both."
Junior Dos Santos confidently predicts his knockout of Cain Velasquez.
Dos Santos got the nickname "Cigano" after showing up to Brazilian jiu-jitsu practice with long hair put in a ponytail. He was told he looked like the character Cigano from a Brazilian soap opera.
- Cormier: Only Dos Santos can beat Velasquez (May 5, 2013)
- All-round Dos Santos ready for battle (Mar 23, 2013)
- Hunt to book title shot with Dos Santos win (Mar 15, 2013)
- Dos Santos offers catalogue of excuses for UFC 155 (Jan 12, 2013)
Dos Santos: I forgot to protect my face (Jan 2, 2013)