It’s the end of an era for two of the most decorated heavyweights in UFC history as the promotion has parted ways with former champion Junior dos Santos and former title contender Alistair Overeem. The news was first reported by MMA Junkie and now signifies a changing of the times in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
The end for dos Santos comes on the heels of a four-fight losing streak where he consecutive TKO losses to Ciryl Gane, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes, and Francis Ngannou. Before the four-fight skid, dos Santos had put together a three-fight winning streak after losing in a title fight to reigning champion Stipe Miocic.
A former UFC heavyweight champion himself, with one title defense, dos Santos will certainly be remembered for his trilogy wars with former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, despite going 1-2 in those three fights. Throughout his career, dos Santos compiled wins over the likes of Stipe Miocic, Derrick Lewis, Mark Hunt, Frank Mir, Velasquez, Mirko Cro Cop and Fabricio Werdum.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Junior dos Santos confirmed the news that his time with the UFC had come to an end.
“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.”
While dos Santos will leave the UFC having been a champion, Alistair Overeem will unfortunately not be. “The Demolition Man” had a long tenure inside the promotion but failed to achieve the highest honor in the heavyweight division Overeem had 67 professional fights in his career which included championships in DREAM, K1, and Strikeforce promotions.
As the UFC moves on from two of their most legendary fighters in the division, MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn dropped some incredible stats that only those two will share, with both having over 20 appearances inside the UFC’s Octagon.
Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem leave the UFC as two of the seven heavyweights to ever reach 20 octagon appearances.
They also rank in the top-5 in heavyweight history for knockouts and knockdowns. Few have done it like these two. pic.twitter.com/GxAVvwOQko
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) March 4, 2021
With new heavyweight contenders rising up the ranks, the losing streaks of both fighters just happened to be the writing on the wall as their legendary tenures come to a close with the UFC. Before his last fight, Overeem hinted that his career may come to an end if he lost, which he did, but there’s been no official announcement made for the future of his career.