Velasquez vs. dos Santos 2: Junior dos Santos' 5 Finest Moments
Junior dos Santos could assume the mantel of "Baddest Man on The Planet" and nobody would question it. In the past it's been a title given to the world heavyweight champion in boxing, but since that division is on virtual life support, it also applies to the UFC heavyweight champion.
Possessing immense power with precision technique, dos Santos has made it to the top of the UFC ladder by using his boxing skills. He's without a doubt the best boxer in the division and perhaps the best striker outside of Alistair Overeem.
The champion will have a chance to add to his brief legacy in the UFC by defeating the challenger, Cain Velasquez, in the UFC 155 main event. JDS already holds a victory over Velasquez but will look to silence the critics who claim his first victory was nothing more than a fluke.
UFC 155 provides dos Santos with an opportunity to create a moment that will be forever remembered but the moments on this list are synonymous with the Brazilian. His UFC career has been filled with plenty of knockouts but a heartwarming story could be dos Santos' finest moment.
5. Junior dos Santos Receives a Lesson from "Big Country"
Roy Nelson is just one of those tough guys who won't stay down even if it's in his best interest. There's no quit in the guy and Junior dos Santos discovered that very quickly in their UFC 117 showdown.
Up to that point, dos Santos had stopped every one of his opponents before the final bell. That streak included four first-round stoppages and a verbal submission from MMA legend Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic.
There would be no early stoppage against Nelson, however. Dos Santos put on a one-sided beatdown from bell to bell and did his best to put Nelson away. Nelson just stood there, taking the punches that would've put down any other man for 15 minutes until JDS was announced the winner.
The Nelson fight was no doubt a lesson for the young Brazilian. You're not going to be able to put everyone away in under five minutes and some measure of patience must be learned for a fighter to be successful in MMA. Now dos Santos will know what to do if he can't put someone away early instead of cracking under the pressure.
4. Junior dos Santos Shows a Well-Rounded Game
After 15 minutes of fighting Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin looked more like the host of Tales from the Crypt than a UFC fighter.
While Carwin's face was the result of a bloody beatdown in the first round and subsequent punches to the face, what was more impressive was dos Santos' showcasing some of his other skills. Dos Santos opened up with his striking game and landed some kicks, showing he has more offensive weapons than just his punches.
The Brazilian also landed two takedowns, which, despite the fact Carwin was badly gassed, still were an accomplishment given Carwin's wrestling pedigree. It showed a level of maturity in dos Santos in that despite the fact he was dominating on the feet, he was more than able to take advantage of an opportunity to secure a takedown.
Dos Santos' victory against Carwin was about as much of a clean sweep as one could hope for in the Octagon. He faced virtually no adversity while keeping Carwin on the ropes for all 15 minutes of the fight.
3. Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez Make History
The UFC's first event on Fox featured a number of great fights, including a lightweight title eliminator, but only one bout was televised. The heavyweight division, long the favorite of the boxing community, would now be on show for the world in an Octagon.
Then-champion Cain Velasquez would put his belt on the line against his most dangerous opponent to date, Junior dos Santos. The men were two of the UFC's biggest upcoming stars and fans had long dreamed of their paths crossing in the Octagon.
Their wish finally came true in Nov. of 2011 as dos Santos and Velasquez met one another while the whole world watched on Fox television. The moment will go down in UFC history as one of its greatest moments but will also be remembered for how dominant JDS looked.
It took him only 64-seconds to take out a champion many believed to be unbeatable at the time. With one powerful overhand right, dos Santos shattered the aura surrounding Velasquez and anointed himself as the indisputable heavyweight champion.
2. Who Is This Guy?
Fabricio Werdum was coming off back-to-back wins against stiff competition. Brandon Vera at the time was highly regarded and Gabriel Gonzaga is also a tough out for any competitor.
Werdum was likely a mere fight away from getting a UFC title shot. All he had to do was get past the unknown Junior dos Santos at UFC 90. Dos Santos was a heavy underdog due to only competing in his native Brazil up until that point.
It didn't take fans long to realize they had someone special on their hands when dos Santos dropped Werdum with a nasty uppercut. As Joe Rogan loved to point out in the replay, you could see Werdum's ears wiggle as he took the blow.
The win gave dos Santos a signature punch and also put some extra cash in his wallet for winning Knockout of the Night honors in his UFC debut.
1. Juinor dos Santos Fulfills a Dream
Although much of the talk surrounding UFC 146 focused on Alistair Overeem and his failed drug test, there was a feel good story that received some attention.
Junior dos Santos was matched up against Frank Mir and despite the UFC's best efforts to make it into a grudge match, neither side really played along. What was featured in the UFC Primetime show was Breno Ferreira and his relationship with the champion.
The nine-year old boy was seen hanging out with the world champion as if they were best buddies hanging out after school. Even though they are years apart in age, dos Santos saw himself in Ferreira. The boy comes from a poverty stricken area and was always in the gym, asking questions when he could.
Ferreira's wish was to come with dos Santos and sit cageside while the Brazilian defended his title against Mir. JDS, proving that once again he is the ultimate nice guy, flew not only Ferreira in but also his brother and mother.
Dos Santos' career will affect many athletes for better or worse, but he'll always know he helped a boy achieve his dreams in a world where dreams do not exist.
For more on the great story check out Kevin Iole's piece about Ferreira and the UFC champ.