Two Major MMA Stars Are No Longer With the UFC

UFC belt

Getty

The UFC has lost two of its biggest stars.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and perennial top-10 heavyweight Alistair Overeem are no longer part of the promotion. This week, Dos Santos and Overeem both revealed on social media that they had parted ways with the UFC.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik & Junior dos Santos

GettyJairzinho Rozenstruik (R) punches Junior Dos Santos in their heavyweight bout during the UFC 252 event at UFC APEX on August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“JDS” (21-9) is currently on a four-fight losing streak, with his most recent defeat coming at the hands of Ciryl Gane in December. During this recent stretch, dos Santos has also lost to Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou. All four defeats are via first or second-round TKO.

Alistair Overeem

GettyAlistair Overeem poses on the scale during the UFC weigh-in at the Park Theater on July 7, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Overeem (47-19, 1 NC) was riding a two-fight win streak into his last bout, taking on Alexander Volkov last month. “The Demolition Man” was finished in the second round, losing by TKO.

JDS and Overeem were both bonafide headliners for the UFC. However, with their ages, JDS is 37 and Overeem is 40, coupled with their recent losses to top-10 heavyweights, it appears the UFC was ready to part ways with the stars.

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Dos Santos Thanked the UFC, ‘Excited to Move On’

Dos Santos took to Instagram to share his thoughts about his release from the UFC and his fighting future.

Thanks @ufc for a great 12 years! I fought through MMA’s Murderer’s Row to get my shot at the belt,” JDS wrote. “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.”
Dos Santos won the UFC heavyweight championship in 2011 when he knocked out then-champ Cain Velasquez a minute into the fight during the UFC’s very first event on FOX.
He went on to defend the title once, finishing former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the second round via TKO. JDS would then lose his title to Velasquez in the rematch.
In 23 bouts, JDS earned a UFC record of 15-8.

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Overeem Wrote ‘The Final Run Has Come to an End’

It was widely documented that Overeem’s recent run was his final campaign for a UFC title. And it appears that due to the loss to Volkov, his UFC championship aspirations are over.

“The final run has come to an end, but what a run it has been. Looking back at my 10 years in the UFC, this has been the experience of a lifetime,” Overeem wrote. “Huge thank you to the entire @ufc staff, the fans and all the fighters I came across. Couldn’t have wished for any other better career path. A special thank you to @danawhite and Lorenzo Fertitta for making everything possible. Fighting for all of you has been such an honor.”

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