Fight Between Former UFC Champion & MMA Legend ‘Still Viable’

UFC Belt

Getty UFC championship belt

Despite former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos losing at Eagle FC 47 on Friday night, Khabib Nurmagomedov still wants to pursue a fight with “Cigano” and Fedor Emelianenko.

“Cigano” appeared on his way to defeating his opponent Yorgan De Castro, but during the third frame, he popped out his shoulder after throwing a right hand at “The Mad Titan.” The fight was waved off and De Castro was declared the victor via TKO, improving his professional MMA record to 9-3.

Dos Santos (21-10) has been defeated by TKO in his last five fights. The Brazilian hasn’t tasted victory since defeating Derrick Lewis during the UFC Fight Night 146 headliner in March 2019.

The organization’s promoter, Nurmagomedov, said before the event that he wanted to work with Bellator president Scott Coker to put together a contest between dos Santos and Emelianenko.

And considering how good Cigano looked up until the shoulder injury, Nurmagomedov told The Underground that he hasn’t written off the idea of the cross-promotional fight.

“I think it’s still viable,” Nurmagomedov said via MMA Fighting, “because even if he lost, Junior looked amazing. Everybody see tonight, he’s improved a lot and he was looking amazing. And I think it’s still interesting. I think for his shoulder, [as an] athlete — because I know when you have an injury, what you need, how many months you need to recover, everything — I think if he makes this next week, surgery, I think definitely he needs surgery.

“I’m not a doctor, but I see a lot of injuries inside the gym like this with shoulders, with knees. I think after three or four months, he can come back to sparring, and at the end of the year we can make this fight. Next week I’m going to sit with Scott Coker and we’re going to discuss about this fight.”

Cigano Said He Hadn’t Felt That Good Fighting in a ‘Long, Long Time’

The former champion updated his fans after he had his shoulder fixed, saying that he was “feeling so happy” prior to the fight-ending injury. Cigano also said he hadn’t felt that good while competing in a long time.

“Hey guys, I’m home already,” dos Santos said via MMA Fighting. “I took my shower, I had my dinner, I’m ready to get some rest now. My shoulder is back into place. In this position like this, I’m not feeling any pain. I already talked to my doctor, we’re going to do some exams and figure out what’s going to be the procedures to get this thing better as soon as possible. But before going to bed, I would like to share with you guys that I was feeling so happy. I was feeling very good during the fight, like I haven’t felt in a long, long time.

“And it was good. It was good because I was able to deliver everything that I worked for. The hard work we put in the gym, I was able to bring inside the octagon on the day of the fight, and things were working good for us until we had this injury.”

Nurmagomedov Believes It Had Been Years Since Dos Santos Was in That Great of Shape

Nurmagomedov continued with his thoughts on Cigano, saying he looked “amazing.” He also said that it had been years since dos Santos had looked in that great of shape.

“Junior was looking amazing,” Nurmagomedov said. “[For a] long time, I didn’t see [him look like] how he looked like tonight. He was looking very good. I think it was maybe his best shape in the last couple years, maybe five, six years.

“But it is what it is, you know? This is a very tough sport. You can’t even blink in this sport when you’re inside the cage, because I know how it is being inside the cage, standing with someone [who’s] a professional athlete in front of you. It’s very dangerous and you have to stay focused every single second.”

Read More