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Dos Santos confident ahead of UFC 155

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A.J. Perez

A.J. Perez previously worked at USA Today, AOL and CBSSports.com, covering beats ranging from performance-enhancing drugs to the NHL. He has also been a finalist for an Associated Press Sports Editors award for investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter.

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It didn’t take much longer than the 64 seconds Junior dos Santos required to seize the UFC heavyweight belt for the Brazilian striker to realize he didn’t get the best of Cain Velasquez the first time around.

“At the interview afterward, I saw how disappointed his was in his performance,” dos Santos told FOXSports.com through an interpreter. “I know this time Cain will be giving it his all. He’s going to be gunning for me.”

In the 13 months leading up to Saturday’s rematch at UFC 155 in Las Vegas, dos Santos and the MMA community learned the extent of the injuries Velasquez dealt with at the first bout. Maybe that’s why even though dos Santos is still predicting a knockout victory, he's estimating it'll  take at least two or three rounds of the five-rounder at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“I believe in myself a lot,” said dos Santos, who entered the original fight with his own knee injury. “I believe in my hands. I believe in my knockout power. I know Cain’s personality. I know he’s an excellent fighter. It might take a little bit longer, but the result is going to be the same.

“He may take me down 10 times, but I’m going to get up 10 times. He can get 10 punches in and I am going to take 10 punches. I know Cain will be knocked out.”

That’s about as bold as the usually soft-spoken dos Santos gets either in his native tongue, Portuguese, or in English, a language he’s become amazingly fluent in over the last couple of years.

“I have a lot of respect for Junior (and) the way he carries himself in the cage and out,” Velasquez said last week on a conference call with reporters. “No trash talking, (dos Santos is) just down to business.”

Velasquez is also a fighter of few words, so the pure anticipation of two the UFC’s best heavyweights in the Octagon — not showmanship — will sell this fight.

“I think Cain Velasquez is a good professional,” dos Santos said. “He doesn’t say trash things to promote his fights. And he's a great fighter.”

Dos Santos, however, does have an ego or, at the very least, believes strongly in his abilities.

“I want to break all the records,” dos Santos said. “I want the record for the most defenses. My biggest goal is just to keep going and going. I want to continue this professional trajectory and increase the opportunities coming my way. I want to keep providing a better life myself and my family.”

Dos Santos successfully defended his belt with a second-round TKO victory over Frank Mir in May. Another win over Velasquez will pull dos Santos even with Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia and Brock Lesnar for the most title defenses by a heavyweight (two).

While dos Santos is favored by the oddsmakers, Velasquez has been given some deference with the release of a video that purportedly shows the former Arizona State All-American wrestler tearing his ACL two weeks before he faced dos Santos at UFC on FOX 1.

Cain said at Thursday’s news conference that he wished the video — which was released without his approval – “never came out.”

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“You don’t make excuses for yourself,” Velasquez said. “I went in and fought and that was it.”

Velasquez said he’s healthy for the rematch as he looks to avenge his only professional loss. Dos Santos, however, said he’s not the same fighter either — a scary thought for somebody who needed just over a minute to win the original bout.

“I feel I’ve evolved as a fighter,” dos Santos said. “I feel stronger and smarter than when I came into the first fight.”

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