Fans were clamoring for Junior dos Santos to switch things up following two ugly losses to UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez. It appears as though the Brazilian was listening.
According to a translation provided by Bloody Elbow (h/t to Reddit who translated it from Globo), JDS is heading to the renowned Nova Uniao camp for training. Note that JDS is referred to as "gypsy" in the report.
Everyone knows that Junior Cigano is created by Rodrigo Minotauro and Rogerio Nogueira. The most famous twins MMA got him home, food and laundry for the good boxer that even one day was heavyweight champion. And took him in tow for the UFC. What almost no one knows is that the relationship between them is shaken. Since last week, Gypsy is in Rio de Janeiro and so far didn't show up at Team Nogueira, a team of brothers and Minotauro Nogueira. Instead, Gypsy has trained in Nova Uniao, a rival team. Minotauro is not a bit happy with the attitude of his former pupil and peer has called Gypsy "vain". He feels betrayed by his friend who vowed never to face him in a MMA fight. Coach Luiz Dorea is playing the role of firefighter and is trying to put out the fire that threatens to consume the relationship between Minotauro and Gypsy. Since last week, he has said Gypsy will make an exchange program between Nova Uniao academies and Team Nogueira. And then go on to more training in the United States. But yesterday, were present at Team Nogueira Erick Silva, Rafael Feijao, Minotauro Nogueira and preparing to face Roy Nelson. Again no Gypsy!
It seems as though dos Santos realized he'd gone as far as he could with his current crop of training partners. A devastating loss to Velasquez at UFC 166 put the spotlight squarely on dos Santos' cornermen.
The fact that the third fight was a mirror image of the second indicated that JDS' camp failed to create an effective strategy and their fighter suffered (a lot) for it.
They were criticised for not only coming up with a gameplan to counter Velasquez's offense, but also for allowing their fighter to continue to be beat down even when it was clear that the Brazilian was out of the fight.
JDS himself stated that he thought he was knocked out in the second round at UFC 166 and has no memory of his post-fight speech. UFC president Dana White was just one of many that called out dos Santos' team following the blood bath in the UFC 166 main event.
Althought Nova Uniao doesn't have a lot of (or any) bigger training partners to square dos Santos up with, there's no question that this move will have a positive effect on dos Santos' performance in the Octagon.
JDS has basically run through every fighter in the division other than Velasquez and it will be very hard, if not impossible, for him to get another title shot so long as Velasquez is champion. But Nova Uniao's head coach, Andre Pederneiras, is one of the most respected coaches in the game today and has produced two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world in Jose Aldo and Renan Barao.
Prior to the Velasuqez rubber match, JDS capped off a strong showing against Mark Hunt at UFC 160 with a stunning spinning back kick. He's also never lost to anyone not named Velasquez in the Octagon and has finishes in 14 of his 16 victories.
Although many fans will look at this as a positive for dos Santos, it does open the door for an ugly war of words to play out should the story gain traction in the media. As of now, neither side has commented on the change of camps.
The sport of MMA and BJJ regard loyalty to one's coach/master as something not to be taken lightly and fans need only look to the rivalry between Brazilian Top Team and Chute Boxe in Pride as evidence that gym loyalty matters in Brazil.
Update - It looks as though JDS is denying the reports. Jeremy Botter has the details.
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