It’s hard to tell exactly how the future of the weight class will play out in the wake of Saturday’s event, which takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+. It entirely hinges on what happens in the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier title-fight headliner, and where both men go afterward.
Rozenstruik (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Dos Santos (21-7 MMA, 15-6 UFC) are positioned on the same card, though, and that will keep them in the title picture. Rozenstruik notes that Francis Ngannou, who handed him his only career loss at UFC 249 in May, is next in line regardless of what happens between Miocic and Cormier.
However, he doesn’t see himself as far behind.
“Dos Santos does a lot for the sport (and is) still a dangerous fight,” Rozenstruik told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during Wednesday’s UFC 252 virtual media day. “If I beat him I’m right there. The championship fight is happening the same day and Francis is next after that.”
The matchup between Rozenstruik and Dos Santos will be telling for both sides. Rozenstruik had his 10-fight winning streak snapped by Ngannou with a brutal 20-second knockout, and now the spotlight is on him to respond. Dos Santos, meanwhile, is a former UFC champion who for the first time in his career in a two-fight losing skid.
Both men are keen to climb back into a positive position in the heavyweight division, and because of that a lot rides on this fight. Rozenstruik said he respects Dos Santos, but he said his performance will show he wants the win more.
“It’s a fight,” Rozenstruik said. “I’m not looking at the past. Junior did a lot of things for the sport. He did a lot of good things for the sport. But I’m looking forward at what I want to do, where I want to be. … For me, I’m looking for a win. I need it. I have something I’m looking to set straight for myself and I’m just going to go in there and do what I do best.”