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Junior Dos Santos Is Being Built Up Ass-Backwards

(Dos Santos makes short work of Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve at UFC 95 in February. Photo courtesy of

There are some MMA fans who will tell you that Junior Dos Santos is one of the ten best heavyweights in the world. Personally, I think he needs one more win over a credible opponent before he becomes Power Ranking-worthy, but I won’t deny that he’s got serious talent and potential. Which is why it’s strange that for his third fight in the Octagon, he’s being given someone near the very bottom of the UFC heavyweight totem pole. MMA Junkie reports that Dos Santos and Justin McCully have agreed to face each other at UFC 102 (August 29th; Portland, Oregon). So, quick MMA Math…

Junior Dos Santos wasted Fabricio Werdum, who pwned Gabriel Gonzaga, who made McCully his bitch = OMFG can this fight even get approval by the Oregon State Athletic Commission?

It’s unfortunate because it represents a steady backwards progression in the opponents that Dos Santos is getting. For his UFC debut, he was given Werdum — a top-ten heavyweight at the time — and knocked his head into the mezzanine. Then, he was matched up with Stefan Struve, who was a killer in European leagues but untested against high-level competition, and needed less than a minute to destroy him. And now Dos Santos is being offered a fight against a guy who nobody thinks is any good. Are they building him up towards a super-fight with Jason Guida?

Meanwhile, Cain Velasquez is on his own separate title track, Shane Carwin‘s next opponent is yet-unknown (though a title shot isn’t out of the realm of possibility), and none of these exciting up-and-comers will be facing each other until they absolutely have to. Sure, doing it that way gives the UFC heavyweight class the illusion of depth, but it doesn’t really establish a hierarchy in the division. I say, put together a four-man one-night "Contender’s Tournament" with Dos Santos, Velsasquez, Carwin, and the winner of Kongo/Hardonk at UFC 97, and the last man standing gets a shot at the belt. Yeah, I know that would never happen, but death/” target=”_blank”>it’s the two-year anniversary of PRIDE’s death today, so forgive me for getting all EPIC on your asses.

Cagepotato Comments

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LAS- April 8, 2009 at 11:18 pm
@ those making Houston Alexander comparisons:

Houston doesn't have a BJJ black belt under the Nogueria bros, and he didn't have Dos Santos' kickboxing pedigree either. The guy is like 9-0 now, which is the point at which most HWs take a step up in competition (see, recently, Carwin). There just isn't the depth to support him fighting cans. I don't see how McCully will do anything to prove Dos Santos' skills or help him grow as a fighter.
And as El Guapo always- April 8, 2009 at 9:36 pm
or Ken Shamrock
And as El Guapo always- April 8, 2009 at 9:35 pm
I think its already in the works if he beats McCully, to bring back Eddie Sanchez for his next match up.
And as El Guapo always- April 8, 2009 at 9:32 pm
Simple MMA math will show that:

Carwin > Gonzaga
Gonzaga > McCully
Dos Santos > Werdum

using those restrictions, and once you subtract the Mirko Cro Cop you will see that the correct answer to this equation is Dos Santos vs. Gonzaga.
Ethan- April 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm
great analysis Imbecile, not everyone can be Brock Lesnar and jump into being a champion after a 2-1 record.. luck plays a factor in all fights, the longer the fight goes on the less luck plays and the idea of giving them more and more fights is to give them the experience necessary to get wins with more than just hard punches, b/c in this sport you've got to have more than just that.. I do think they need to put them in against someone with SOME tools though, not Justin McCully.. Jake Obrien would be a better test, cuz his wrestling would at least eliminate some of the luck with punches.. it would give them more time in the octagon.. maybe..
Anonymous- April 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm
Cain, just 'cause.

Cyborg is nutty, Carona watch out babe !
Imbecile- April 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm
Actually, I think they are building him up the right way. They brought him in fully expecting him to lose to Werdum. Then he KO'ed Werdum, but just because you score a KO doesn't necessarily show you are anything more than Houston Alexander. But it did prove he can hang in the UFC, so you start him at the bottom of the heap and develop him correctly. Nothing wrong with Struve or McCully as entry level gatekeepers to show you can start moving up to the name fighters in the division. McCully can be a tough opponent, and Cigano should beat him. Look at Cain Velasquez's weak competition.

You don't necessarily want to kill off a talented fighter by giving him too much too soon just because he scored a nice KO over a top ranked guy. Look at Sokodjou's path back to the minors. He unexpectedly got the KO on Lil Nog, then lightening struck twice when he did the same to Arona. But he obviously wasn't ready for the figt to go anywhere but his big KO shot. When he couldn't get that, he wasn't ready for the rest of the well-rounded top tier. Same with Houston after the Jardine KO. Let the man start where he belongs.
Ozone- April 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm
im with you totally meo...not in any sport in my opinion
Meohfumado- April 8, 2009 at 2:17 pm
While I see your point about the quality of his opponents, there is no transitive property in athletics...not in college football...not in MMA...
El Famous Burrito- April 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm
When did someone beating the ever-loving shit out of Justin McCully become a bad thing?

This just means we're more likely to see some undercard action on this PPV.
Anonymous- April 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm
They're saving those three fights for main events with the undercards being saturated with TUF bums in true gay UFC fashion.
Brad- April 8, 2009 at 1:58 pm
The Tournament is actually a good idea and I think would do huge PPV numbers. I can see it now...UFC 103 The Heavyweights. Maybe make it a Fight Night with the headliner being a HW TUF final. Danm we have lots of acronyms in this sport now.

More on this topic however, I am not sure why everyone thinks Dos Santos needs a step up in comp yet. They should build him up for a few fights. The UFC needs the HW division to have to depth in the fans eyes and putting new guys way up the rankings isnt going to help the division. For an example of this just look at Gonzaga. No way he should have ever been in the ring with Couture...which upon loosing I feel he fell in the minds of many people. Just the same, when Lesnar looses to someone other than Mir people will be saying the same thing. I am glad that Bobby Lashley (no I am not a WWF fan. I didn't even know who this guy was before he started getting hyped) understands this and is willing to take the longer road. Not everyone wants to go the way of Lindsay Lohan after all, some people actually want some longevity.
Harry Russo- April 8, 2009 at 1:56 pm
Remember Houston Alexander
Anonymous- April 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm
rokabee- April 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm
Dude, Ben, I've been tryin to bring the tourneys back into action!!!!! Can you say online petition?
skidding- April 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm
I feel bad for Stefan Shrute... Santos pummeling that skinny white dude looked like a bully beatdown.
sol- April 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm
cigano is quite fun to watch