Junior Dos Santos thankful for opportunity to coach on The Ultimate Fighter 13
The top contender in the UFC heavyweight division could have waited for the injured Cain Velasquez to heal and fought for the title, but opted to take a fight with Brock Lesnar instead and coach on “TUF 13.”
“I was very upset when I found out that Cain Velasquez was injured and I wouldn’t be able to fight him for the title, but at the same time I got very happy when I heard the news that I would be coaching alongside Brock on TUF,” said Dos Santos on Monday.
“Brock is a guy that’s bringing a lot of fans into MMA. He’s a guy that’s very well-known in the U.S., and I’m a guy that’s starting to come up right now and this is a great opportunity.”
When he found out he would be coaching on the popular Spike TV reality series, Dos Santos looked for guidance from his mentor and training partner Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who coached on the eighth season.
“As soon as I heard I was going to be coaching on TUF I called Nogueira. Nogueira gave me a few pointers of what I should expect and how to act. He said to act like myself. He said the first week will be the most difficult and then you’ll just get the hang of it, and that’s exactly what happened,” said the 26-year old fighter.
Overall, Dos Santos was happy with his experience on TUF and coaching his seven welterweights.
“It was a great experience working with all of the guys. They all already had pro MMA fights, so none of them were debuters. They all knew what they were doing, so it was good to just be able to pass on the experience and be able to work with them everyday,” he said.
“Being in front of the cameras for that long and being in the house and on the show was a new experience for me. I really enjoyed it,” he added. “Being on the show with Brock was great because Brock is so used to the media spotlight and being in front of the cameras. He’s a professional guy. He’s a serious guy, so it was a great experience for me and I think both of us did our best on the show.”
Dos Santos was questioned about his impression of Lesnar.
“Prior to the show I had never actually met Brock, so I was a little bit surprised at how professional and how easy Brock was to deal with, although we weren’t able to be together all that much,” said the Black House trained athlete.
“It’s hard to say what my impression was of Brock because I didn’t know him before, but after getting to know him on the show, Brock is a professional guy. He’s a pretty nice guy, but on June 11, none of that really maters because my goal is to go in there and beat Brock,” added Dos Santos.
“In the end, it was great to be able to meet my next opponent, and the experience overall was phenomenal.”
“The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team do Santos” premieres Wednesday on Spike TV at 9 p.m ET/PT.