UFC Releases Former Champion Junior Dos Santos, Veteran Alistair Overeem

Junior Dos Santos
Junior Dos Santos, UFC 256 weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

In a somewhat shocking turn of events, the UFC has parted ways with former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, and former title challenger/MMA legend Alistair Overeem.

Combate was the first to report the news, with multiple outlets confirming the news soon after. Dos Santos confirmed the development via social media.

Dos Santos (21-9) wrote on his Instagram, “Thanks UFC for a great 12 years! I fought through MMA’s Murderer’s Row to get my shot at the belt. Holding and defending it was one of the great honors of my life. Thanks to every opponent, thanks to every fan and every critic. I’m going to spend some time back at the drawing board, but I’m excited to move on 😉🥊👀 OSS.”

Dos Santos has had UFC career only a few will ever have. He joined the promotion in 2008, and rattled off seven straight wins with five knockouts to earn a UFC heavyweight title shot. “Cigano” would end up knocking out Cain Velasquez in a minute and four seconds to win the heavyweight title on FOX’s first UFC fight card.

The Brazilian would lose the title to Velasquez a year later, but he would fight for the title two other times throughout his storied UFC career.

His UFC run ended with four consecutive TKO losses against the best of the division. There is no doubt he will be enshrined into the UFC Hall of Fame at some point.

Overeem (47-19) joined the UFC 10 years ago in 2011; his first victory inside the octagon was against Brock Lesnar. “Reem” had a storied MMA career before joining the UFC, winning multiple titles and fighting in organizations such as RIDE, DREAM, and Strikeforce.

While his UFC career started kind of rocky, he went on a four-fight winning streak to earn a crack at the UFC heavyweight title. He would end up losing to Stipe Miocic via knockout.

Overeem would suffer two vicious back-to-back knockouts to Francis Ngannou and foe-turned teammate Curtis Blaydes in 2017 and 2018 before going on another run to try and get a final UFC title shot. He would get close, but he would lose via knockout to Alexander Volkov in February of this year in his final fight with the promotion.

Like Dos Santos, there will likely be a place in the UFC Hall of Fame for Overeem.

“The Demolition Man” has not addressed the news.