Now UFC's Junior dos Santos Wants to Box
Add newly-crowned UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos to a growing list of professional mixed martial artists with an interest in boxing.
Ever since UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva challenged boxing legend Roy Jones, Jr. to a boxing match in 2008, several big names have expressed a strong interest in the pugilistic art including Kimbo Slice, Rampage Jackson, Nick Diaz, Alistar Overeem and most recently Junior dos Santos.
However, dos Santos' goals in boxing differ from the rest.
A native of Brazil, dos Santos recently told Tatame.com he wants to box in the 2016 Olympics which will be held in Rio de Janeiro.
"My trainings begin and end with boxing. There are dynamics and strategies I'm already used to. But I'll test myself, it's inevitable," dos Santos said. "Who knows I get an Olympic medal. Everything's possible."
Can UFC's heavyweight champion compete with boxing's world class amateurs in Olympic boxing?
Answer: Probably not - But he's nimble for his size and very athletic so it would be interesting to see how far he'd go.
But as long as dos Santos is under contract by UFC, its unlikely he'll be allowed to compete as an Olympic boxer. After all, imagine seeing one of the world's top professional mixed martial arts (MMA) heavyweights being knocked out by an "amateur" boxer. It's a real possibility and UFC president Dana White is too smart to allow any of his fighters to partake in boxing with real boxers on any level.
Luiz Carlos Dorea, one Brazil's most esteemed boxing trainers who is credited for helping Acelino Freitas become a world champion in the pro ranks, is optimistic about dos Santos' chances. "The adaptations from boxing to MMA are complex. You gotta be careful about blocking the kicks and takedowns," Dorea asserted. "If he's already above average combining all those things, imagine when he fights traditional boxing. The chances he'll shine are huge, both on professional and Olympic boxing."
Dorea, a pro boxer in the late 80s, had a record of 6-2-1, 3KO.
Dos Santos will fight the winner of Brock Lesnar vs Alistair Overeem on December 30 at UFC 141. Incidentally, Alistar Overeem issued a 'boxing' challenge to Vitali Klitschko last summer.
If MMA has truly conquered boxing as the world's most popular combat sport, why do so many top mixed martial artists want to box?'
Answer: MMA's popularity has surged the last ten years and the sport's popularity has surpassed boxing's in some regions, such as Brazil - However, boxing is still - by far - the world's most popular combat sport because purses for top boxers far exceed the salaries of their peers in MMA. Its not surprising why some of MMA's best want to participate in boxing on some level.
Quotes Source: Tatame
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JUNIOR DOS SANTOS