UFC on Fox: Respect for opponents, platform

There’s good news and bad news for Junior dos Santos going into his Nov. 12 UFC heavyweight title fight against champion Cain Velasquez.

The good is that he’s feeling ready, and that the fight — the UFC’s Fox television debut — will likely be seen by more viewers than any other MMA bout in history.

The bad?

He’s running into a 240-pound buzzsaw of badness in Velasquez. And the man with “Brown Pride” on his chest says he’s 100 percent following shoulder surgery.

Have fun with that, Junior.

“There’s always butterflies when you have a fight,” Velasquez told reporters on a conference call today. “It is natural to feel nervous, it means you are ready. But I’m not more nervous because I’ve been out [hurt] for more than a year. I know from my training camp I’m 100 percent and ready to go. I was 100 percent in July.”

His last time out, at UFC 121 last October, Velasquez demolished then-champ Brock Lesnar in a first-round TKO. That’s exactly how six of his nine pro fights have ended — two others finished with second-round TKOs, and Cheick Kongo (somehow) took him to a decision at UFC 99.

Dos Santos is no stranger to just how good Velasquez has looked.

“I’m in such a good place mentally and physically,” the 27-year-old Brazilian said. “I’m proof that if you work hard, treat people right and don’t doubt yourself, you can achieve your dreams. I genuinely believe that Cain is the greatest heavyweight in the world, and it is an honor to fight him.”

Fans, meanwhile, can expect a whole different kind of title fight.

The bout will be the only one featured on the hour-long Fox broadcast, along with dressing room interviews and other feature packages.

“This is going to be a different format than we’ve ever done before,” UFC president Dana White said. “Obviously this is a show featuring one fight, so we’re doing a lot of things differently. We are going to be rehearsing for this from Thursday.

“… This is a throwback to the old days of boxing. We are putting a big fight – a huge fight – on free TV to expose this thing to a new audience. Our goal has always been to bring big fights back to network television; we are thinking long-term for the future of this sport. It is an investment in the future of the UFC. Fans that have never seen the UFC before will see this show and that’s why we decided to put Cain and Junior in this position.”


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