About a year ago, the veteran ‘Cyborg’ Santos fought the up-and-coming rising star, Michael ‘Venom’ Page… He took an absolutely devastating flying knee directly to his forehead, while ‘MVP’ showboated around the arena, ‘Cyborg’ was taken to the hospital and was later told that his skull, had quite literally, caved in.
The knockout, which earned MMAJunkie’s “Knockout Of The Year” award, was impressive, no doubt, despite all the damage that it caused.
In a recent interview, Santos was asked about his long, hard career… How it all started and where he will go from here.
“I started competing at age 18, in 1996, and remained active for 20 years,” he said. “In that time, I fought 50 times. I always kept busy. I’ve fought from lightweight on up, and I even participated in a heavyweight tournament. I fought in all the major organizations I aimed for. I feel accomplished as a fighter. I faced all the great opponents I wished for. I’ve never turned down a fight. I always sought to face the toughest possible opponents. I was always looking for wars. That’s what attracted me to MMA.”
Apparently, cockfighting might be to blame for Santos’ MMA career.
“As a child, I worked in cockfighting,” he said. “That spirit was engrained in me. A rooster can lose, but he can never run from a fight. That’s the attitude I brought into the cage. I feel satisfied and happy with my accomplishments. During my career, I was able to see the evolution of our sport, from vale tudo to MMA. I’ve lived from fighting, and for fighting. I dedicated my life to it. I’m very satisfied with what I’ve done up to now.”
‘Cyborg’ had a lot of healing to do, in more ways than one, over the past year.
“My recovery was very uneventful, thankfully,” he said. “I remained in Houston, Texas, for six months. Whenever possible, I’d go back to the hospital for follow-ups. I’ve been in Brazil since December. My recovery went very well. I never felt anything. I don’t feel anything. The decision to remain ‘suspended’ from fighting came from me. I believe I need this time to recover. I have to respect my body. It was a very serious fracture, as everyone saw.”
His career isn’t over quite yet if he has his way.
“Right after, I was vocal about my wishes to get back to fighting as soon as possible, but it’s better to act with good sense,” he said. “I took time to think about it, and I want to recover. That’s what I’m doing in Brazil. I’m living with my daughter. I’m teaching fighters here at Chute Boxe in Curitiba, at our professional branch. It’s a great opportunity to share my knowledge with a new generation of fighters, both amateur and professional. Chute Boxe is a true stable of champions, and when one of us stops, we teach what we’ve learned. And that’s what I’m doing now.
“I’m very happy at this moment, to be with my daughter here in Brazil. And I’m even happier because I’ll be a father again. In September, I’ll have my first son.”
It’s a common saying that a warrior should leave the battlefield with his shield or on his shield (check out “Sayings of Spartan Women” by ancient Greek essayist Plutarch). The question now is whether Santos accepts his last bout as his final bout, or if he’s too courageous or stubborn to quit.
“Fighters have to be determined, aggressive, honorable and always give their best,” he said. “And the end of a Spartan’s career has to be this – giving his best in a fight, to the very end. But I don’t believe this is the end for me. I’m recovering. I’m feeling great. Due to my own concerns, I avoided any contact up to now. But I have a great desire to be back in action by next year.
“And if this was really the end of me, it was an end worthy of what I’ve represented, of what I’ve done. Scott Coker and everyone else at Bellator have always treated me with kindness and honor. They showed a lot of concern during my recovery. I plan to come back and work with them again.”
When asked about the metal encased within his skull now, he had this to say.
“It’s titanium,” he said. “It’s in there forever.”