It’s been a frustrating and uncertain few weeks for No.1 contender Junior Dos Santos after learning an injury to current champion Cain Velasquez would delay his title shot indefinitely.
The 26 year-old is all smiles now though after being brought onto The Ultimate Fighter 13 to coach against Brock Lesnar. He’ll have to wait a while longer to compete for the title, but he sees plenty of upsides to his new assignment.
“My next fight would have been for the belt, but this one will be welcome, too. It will enhance my résumé a lot,” Dos Santos tells Sherdog.com. “I liked the choice and the opportunity to be a coach on the reality show [and] it will be a great challenge. My English is not 100 percent, but I’ll do my best and I’m sure I’ll be good.”
After the season the Brazilian will feature in his biggest fight to date against Lesnar, and he offers his assessment of the former champion.
“Lesnar is a tough guy. He’s great. He’s very different from Cain Velasquez, because he’s larger, but a bit slower. But he’s just as dangerous as Cain. It will be different, but I’ll keep working on the same things, which are my takedown defense and boxing.”
As part of the famous Blackhouse stable which is home to many of Brazil’s top fighters, Dos Santos has a wealth of talent at his disposal to call on to help him coach on the TUF show which begins filming later this month.
“I’m still picking my team. Luiz Dorea will be the boxing coach. Billy [Schiebe], an American friend, should be the muay Thai coach. I’m thinking of someone else for jiu-jitsu, and the wrestling coach could be Rodrigo Artilheiro, who is very good, and speaks both Portuguese and English, which helps with communication. I think early next week, we’ll have the full team.”
Overall Dos Santos is right to feel excited by the opportunity he’s been given. With Brock Lesnar on-board both the TUF 13 show and the fight between them afterwards will be huge, giving him the platform to reach a whole new fan base that’s never been at his disposal before.
Being that he’s one of the hardest hitters in the heavyweight division he’s also perfectly poised to give Lesnar all he can handle on his feet, and a win there would eclipse everything he’s achieved so far in the sport, and generate a great deal more interest in his fight with Cain Velasquez than there would have been otherwise.