New-look Junior Dos Santos says trimmer frame will translate to speed advantage at UFC 252

Junior Dos Santos will enter Saturday significantly slimmer than usual, but there’s a gameplan behind his trimmed-down physique.

Dos Santos, who takes on fellow knockout artist Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 252, and has gone through a body transformation in the lead-up to the fight.

He’s been on a ketogenic diet, which has rendered him noticeably smaller, causing many to speculate that he’s working on a move down to light heavyweight. But Dos Santos (21-7 MMA, 15-6 UFC) explained that he’s trimmed down in size to allow one of his best attributes as a heavyweight – his speed – to shine.

“More weight doesn’t mean that you’re stronger,” Dos Santos told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during Wednesday’s UFC 252 virtual media day. “Not for me, actually. The biggest difference for me among the other heavyweights is the speed. I’m much faster than them and I have to be able to use that in my favor. So I’m feeling great, I’m feeling fast, I’m feeling strong. I’m feeling able to use all my skills.”

The former UFC heavyweight champion is on a quest to regain his title and sees a win over Rozenstruik (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) as a big step in the right direction. With many heavyweights in his era such as Cain Velasquez and now Daniel Cormier walking away from the sport, Dos Santos is still going, and he’s far from done

“Truth, everything here with Junior Dos Santos is based on truth, so that’s why I’m here and I’ll keep (being) here for a long time,” he said. “I’m just 36 years old. I still have a lot to do, and I was realizing I didn’t even use my full power in fighting. I have so many tools. I’m a very well-rounded fighter. I can use fighting in different ways so I have to not impose limits on myself and use everything that I got, so you will still hear a lot about Junior Dos Santos.”

UFC 252 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.

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