Junior Dos Santos opens up on the ‘absurd mistakes’ he made in UFC fights with Cain Velasquez

By Susan Cox - May 20, 2022

Junior Dos Santos has opened up about the ‘absurd mistakes’ he made in his UFC fights with Cain Velasquez.


Dos Santos (21-9 MMA) and Velasquez (14-3 MMA) fought a total of three times in the Octagon. The two heavyweights met at UFC Fox 1 in 2011, UFC 155 in 2012, and at UFC 166 in October 2013. While Dos Santos won their first battle, he succumbed to defeat against Cain the next two times out.

Cain Velasquez officially retired from MMA in October of 2019.

Junior Dos Santos, reflecting on mistakes he made inside the cage with Velasquez, spoke with ‘MMA Fighting‘ saying:

“There’s always that thought of, ‘What if this happens?’ You can’t give that too much attention. Those are mental blocks that hold you back and not let you show your entire game. For example, I love doing jui-jitsu. I love to grapple and everything else, but I would always avoid (doing it) in the UFC. One of the absurd mistakes I was able to see during this past year, (reflecting) about the Cain Velasquez fights, especially the second one.”

Discussing the second fight with Cain, Dos Santos continued:

“He (Cain) tried five or six takedowns early in the fight and I defended every single one of them. Hit his face on the mat and I walked away. I walked to the other side of the Octagon and gave him space to get up comforably, whenever he felt well, and continue. Several other mistakes, too, but that’s the one that feels like a slap to the face. Like, “What the f**k are you doing?”

“His face hit the ground, all I had to do was take his back, get on top, get the mount, and embrace the situation. I went far away to avoid the ground and wrestling because he was a wrestler and my goal was to box, to use my boxing. That became a (mental) block because it wasn’t allowing me to use everything I got, my entire arsenal.”

Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos

Sharing his thoughts on the third fight, Junior Dos Santos shared:

“And it was simple, especially in the second fight, but also in the third. So many situations I could take his back or mount or put my knee on his belly and hit. Side control and do something, even if it was only to score points. But I didn’t do that. I walked far away and gave him the opportunity to get back up comfortably, whenever he felt fine, breathe the way he wanted, and then go back to the fight.”

Concluding, Dos Santos continued reflecting on his mistakes:

“Wow, I can’t even explain that without feeling weird. Absurd mistakes that experience and this moment of reflection I’m living right now made me see it clearer. And I don’t want to make more mistakes like that.”

Junior Dos Santos is scheduled to fight Yorgan de Castro (6-3 MMA) in the main event of Eagle FC 47 today, Friday May 20th in Miami, Florida. It will be Dos Santos first non-UFC fight in almost 15 years.

Will you be watching? What is your prediction for Dos Santos vs de Castro?


Cain Velasquez Junior dos Santos UFC