Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos is looking forward to facing Magomed Ankalaev at UFC Fight Night 203, and is relishing the challenge that lies ahead as he attempts to move back toward title contention at 205 pounds.

“I think it’s gonna be a very interesting fight,” Santos told reporters during media day in Las Vegas.

“He’s sort of smart on his feet, you know? In his mind. But he is a danger.”

Santos even went as far as to suggest that the pair, despite hailing from very different backgrounds, are actually quite alike in their approach to fighting.

“If you watch his fights, we are a little bit similar,” he offered.

“We like to keep the distance, we don’t like to take some hits and go to 50-50. It’s gonna be like a chess game.”

With Santos ranked fifth and Ankalaev sixth in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings, both men know that a decisive victory could see them propelled toward a title contender bout.

And Santos said he’s excited to be facing a figher of similar caliber to himself as he looks to climb the rankings once again.

“Ankalaev is a tough guy, no question about that,” he said.

“But I’m here to fight against the best fighters of the world. The best of this division. So, just one more fight, one one more challenge for me. And I’m so excited to fight him.

“He has quality, Like I said he’s a good fighter. One more prospect, you know and yeah, he’s a good guy, a big challenge for me. But I’m here to fight against him to prove that I can beat anyone in this division, and become champion.”