Junior dos Santos

Junior dos Santos Almeida (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʒũnjoʁ dus ˈsɐ̃tus]; born January 30, 1984) is a Brazilian mixed martial artist and professional wrestler who is signed to the Heavyweight division of Eagle FC. As a mixed martial artist, he is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion; as a professional wrestler, dos Santos makes appearances for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) as a member of the American Top Team.

Junior dos Santos
Junior dos Santos.jpg
Dos Santos in June 2011
BornJunior dos Santos Almeida
(1984-01-30) January 30, 1984 (age 38)[1][2]
Caçador, Santa Catarina, Brazil
Other namesCigano
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight247 lb (112 kg; 17 st 9 lb)
DivisionHeavyweight (2006, 2008−present)
Light Heavyweight (2007)
Reach77.0 in (196 cm)[3]
Fighting out ofSalvador, Bahia, Brazil
TeamAmerican Top Team[4]
TrainerBoxing & MMA: Luiz Dorea
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Yuri Carlton
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Yuri Carlton[5]
Years active2006–present (Mixed Martial Arts)
2021-present (Professional Wrestling)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout15
By submission1
By decision5
By knockout8
By submission1
By decision1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog


Dos Santos and his two siblings were raised by a single mother, Maria, after his alcoholic father, Sebastian, left the family in the mid-1990s.[6] He started to work at the age of ten in order to help his family. He trained in capoeira throughout his teenage years before he began taking martial arts seriously at 21, when he began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Yuri Carlton. After six months of training, dos Santos won a few jiu-jitsu tournaments in Salvador.[7][8] One year later, dos Santos was invited to join a boxing practice by a friend, where he met his boxing coach Luiz Carlos Dórea. Dórea also trained mixed martial arts, and roughly a year after he started training in boxing, he had his debut professional fight.[9][10]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Dos Santos turned professional in 2006, at the age of 22. He fought in small promotions in Brazil, such as Demo Fight, Extreme Fighting Championship, Minotauro Fights and Mo Team League. He won six of his first seven bouts, suffering his only loss to Joaquim Ferreira, a fighter he had previously beaten.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (2008–2021)Edit

Debut (2008–2010)Edit

Dos Santos debuted for the UFC on October 25, 2008 at UFC 90. Considered a major underdog,[11] he knocked out top contender Fabrício Werdum at a minute and twenty seconds of the first round,[12][13] earning himself a "Knockout of the Year" award.[14]

Returning on February 21, 2009 at UFC 95 he fought promotional newcomer Stefan Struve, defeating him at fifty-four seconds of the first round by knockout.[15]

On September 19, 2009, dos Santos continued his winning streak and defeated Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 103.[16] During the third round dos Santos dominated Cro Cop in the clinch with knee strikes and punches. A knee from the clinch and a right uppercut apparently caused damage to Mirko's left eye, causing him to submit verbally.[17]

UFC 108 scheduled a fight between dos Santos and Gabriel Gonzaga. However, Gonzaga pulled out of the bout on November 25, 2009 due to a staph infection.[18] Instead, on January 2, 2010, dos Santos fought Gilbert Yvel,[19] winning the fight via TKO at two minutes and seven seconds of the first round.[20]

Dos Santos faced Gabriel Gonzaga on March 21, 2010 at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones.[21] He won the fight via knockout in the first round, earning him his second "Knockout of the Night" award.[22]

Heavyweight title contender (2010–2011)Edit

Dos Santos faced Roy Nelson on August 7, 2010, at UFC 117.[23] The fight saw dos Santos use a variety of strikes and, for the first time, a successful takedown.[24] Despite dos Santos's striking ability, Nelson was able to stay in the fight,[25] resulting in the fight going to decision.[26] dos Santos won the fight via unanimous decision.[27] Following the win, dos Santos was expected[by whom?] to challenge Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight title. However, a torn rotator cuff suffered by Velasquez side-lined the champion for nearly a year.[28][29]

Junior dos Santos in action against Shane Carwin in the main event of UFC 131.

On January 11, 2011, the president of the UFC, Dana White, announced that dos Santos would be one of the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13, opposite Brock Lesnar.[30] They were scheduled to face each other on June 11, 2011, at UFC 131,[31] but Lesnar pulled out of the bout due to a recurrence of diverticulitis and was replaced by Shane Carwin.[32] Dos Santos dominated Carwin and won the fight via unanimous decision,[33] relying predominantly on his boxing skills,[34] but showed more variety in his game by landing a couple of kicks and completing two takedowns in the third round.[35][36]

UFC Heavyweight Champion (2011–2012)Edit

Dos Santos faced Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 for the UFC Heavyweight Championship on November 12, 2011.[37] He won the fight via knockout at 64 seconds into the first round.[38] The performance also earned him his third "Knockout of the Night" award.[39] After the fight, it was revealed that he had a torn meniscus in his knee;[40] he subsequently underwent a successful knee surgery.[41]

Dos Santos was scheduled to face Alistair Overeem on May 26, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at UFC 146.[42] On April 4, 2012, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced Overeem had failed a pre-fight drug test.[43] Consequently, Overeem's request for a license was denied.[44] On April 20, 2012, Dana White the UFC president announced Frank Mir would be replacing Overeem.[45] Dos Santos was able to keep the fight standing, showing his superior boxing skills, eventually winning via KO in the second round.

A rematch against Cain Velasquez was expected on September 22, 2012 at UFC 152.[46] However, it was later announced by Dana White that the fight would take place in Las Vegas on December 29, 2012 at UFC 155. Dos Santos lost via unanimous decision.[47] This marked the first time dos Santos had suffered a loss in the UFC. Dos Santos later claimed that he was training so hard prior to the bout with Velasquez that he developed rhabdomyolysis, a (sometimes fatal) breakdown of muscle fibers that releases their contents into the bloodstream, and that the condition affected his performance during the fight.[48]

Back into contention (2013–2021)Edit

Dos Santos was expected to face Alistair Overeem on May 25, 2013 at UFC 160.[49] However, in early March, Overeem pulled out of the bout citing an injury.[50] The bout was expected to be rescheduled for a future event,[51] However, on March 9, UFC President Dana White confirmed that dos Santos's next opponent would be Mark Hunt at the same event.[52] Dos Santos won the fight via third-round knockout.[53] This fight earned both participants Fight of the Night award.[54]

A third fight with Cain Velasquez took place on October 19, 2013 at UFC 166.[55] Although dos Santos experienced more moments of success than in their second fight, he was still dominated by Velasquez for most of the fight. He lost via TKO at 3:09 of the fifth round.[56]

Dos Santos was expected to face Stipe Miocic on May 24, 2014 at UFC 173.[57] However, the bout was delayed and was scheduled to take place a week later on May 31, 2014 at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale.[58] However, on May 5, it was announced that dos Santos pulled out of the fight citing a hand injury[59][60] and he was replaced by Fabio Maldonado.[61]

A rescheduled bout with Miocic took place as the main event at UFC on Fox 13 on December 13, 2014.[62] dos Santos won the back-and-forth fight via unanimous decision.[63] The performance earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.[64]

After a year away from the sport, dos Santos had the three-years-delayed fight with Alistair Overeem which took place on December 19, 2015 at UFC on Fox 17.[65] He lost the bout by technical knockout in the second round.[66]

Dos Santos faced Ben Rothwell on April 10, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 86.[67] Dos Santos won the fight via unanimous decision.[68]

Dos Santos was originally expected to face Stefan Struve in a rematch on February 19, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 105.[69] However on January 12, Struve pulled out due to a shoulder injury.[70] Despite having over six weeks before the event, promotion officials elected to remove dos Santos from the event instead of having him face a replacement.[71]

Dos Santos faced Stipe Miocic on May 13, 2017 at UFC 211 for the UFC Heavyweight Championship.[72] He had previously beaten Miocic by unanimous decision at UFC on Fox: dos Santos vs. Miocic in 2014. Dos Santos lost the fight via TKO in the first round.[73]

Dos Santos was expected to face Francis Ngannou on September 9, 2017 at UFC 215.[74] However, on August 18, dos Santos was pulled from the match after being notified of a potential USADA violation.[75] On April 24, 2018 dos Santos was cleared of intentionally using of Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) by USADA, after it was determined he had taken tainted supplements which contained hydrochlorothiazide from the compounding pharmacies in Brazil. He became eligible to compete on April 24, 2018.[76]

Dos Santos returned from his suspension and faced former WSOF Heavyweight Champion Blagoy Ivanov on July 14, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 133.[77] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[78]

Dos Santos faced Tai Tuivasa on December 2, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 142.[79] He won the fight via technical knockout in round two.[80]

Dos Santos next faced Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 4 on March 9, 2019.[81] He won the fight via TKO in the second round.[82] This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award.[83]

Dos Santos faced Francis Ngannou on June 29, 2019 at UFC on ESPN 3.[84] He lost the fight via technical knockout in the first round.[85]

Dos Santos was scheduled to face Alexander Volkov on November 9, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 21.[86] However, dos Santos was forced to pull out from the event due to a bacterial infection in his leg.[87]

As the first bout of his new eight-fight contract, dos Santos faced Curtis Blaydes on January 25, 2020 at UFC Fight Night 166.[88][89] He lost the fight via technical knockout in the second round.[90]

Dos Santos faced Jairzinho Rozenstruik on August 15, 2020 at UFC 252.[91] He lost the fight via technical knockout in the second round.[92]

Dos Santos faced Ciryl Gane on December 12, 2020 at UFC 256.[93] He lost the fight via technical knockout in the second round.[94]

On March 3, 2021, it was announced that dos Santos had been released from the UFC.[95]

Eagle Fighting ChampionshipEdit

Dos Santos made his Eagle FC debut against Yorgan De Castro on May 20, 2022 at Eagle FC 47.[96] Dos Santos outstruck De Castro for most of the bout, but would go on to lose by technical knockout due to a doctor stoppage after suffering a shoulder injury early in the third round.[97]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

All Elite Wrestling (2021–present)Edit

In the summer of 2021, dos Santos began making appearances for the professional wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling, backing American Top Team head Dan Lambert along with ATT affiliated fighters Andrei Arlovski, Paige VanZant, Austin Vanderford, Dalton Rosta, and Jorge Masvidal. They formed an alliance with Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky, otherwise known as the Men of the Year (both of which have legitimate extensive martial arts backgrounds, with Scorpio Sky having fought in MMA competition). On the October 6 edition of AEW Dynamite, it was announced that dos Santos would be making his professional wrestling debut on the October 15 edition of AEW Rampage, teaming with Sky and Page to take on Jake Hager, Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara (The Inner Circle) in a trios match.[98]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Mixed Martial ArtsEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Dos Santos has stated that Antônio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira is his hero.[103]

He is a Roman Catholic.[11]

In January 2013, he announced that he had divorced his wife of ten years before competing at UFC 155.[104]

On March 9, 2017, dos Santos's first child, a boy, was born.[105] Dos Santos's second child was born in May 2019 and was named Maria, after his mother.


Dos Santos featured as one of the contestants for Dança dos Famosos, the Brazilian version of Dancing with the Stars, which started on August 25, 2019 at Globo’s "Domingão do Faustão".[106][107] dos Santos was eliminated from the competition on December 1, 2019, placing fifth.[108]

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
31 matches 21 wins 10 losses
By knockout 15 8
By submission 1 1
By decision 5 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 21–10 Yorgan De Castro TKO (shoulder Injury) Eagle FC 47 May 20, 2022 3 0:35 Miami, Florida, United States
Loss 21–9 Ciryl Gane TKO (elbow) UFC 256 December 12, 2020 2 2:34 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 21–8 Jairzinho Rozenstruik TKO (punches) UFC 252 August 15, 2020 2 3:47 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 21–7 Curtis Blaydes TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. dos Santos January 25, 2020 2 1:06 Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Loss 21–6 Francis Ngannou TKO (punches) UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. dos Santos June 29, 2019 1 1:11 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Win 21–5 Derrick Lewis TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. dos Santos March 9, 2019 2 1:58 Wichita, Kansas, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 20–5 Tai Tuivasa TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: dos Santos vs. Tuivasa December 2, 2018 2 2:30 Adelaide, Australia
Win 19–5 Blagoy Ivanov Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: dos Santos vs. Ivanov July 14, 2018 5 5:00 Boise, Idaho, United States
Loss 18–5 Stipe Miocic TKO (punches) UFC 211 May 13, 2017 1 2:22 Dallas, Texas, United States For the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 18–4 Ben Rothwell Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Rothwell vs. dos Santos April 10, 2016 5 5:00 Zagreb, Croatia
Loss 17–4 Alistair Overeem TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cowboy 2 December 19, 2015 2 4:43 Orlando, Florida, United States
Win 17–3 Stipe Miocic Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: dos Santos vs. Miocic December 13, 2014 5 5:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States Fight of the Night.
Loss 16–3 Cain Velasquez TKO (slam and punch) UFC 166 October 19, 2013 5 3:09 Houston, Texas, United States For the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 16–2 Mark Hunt KO (spinning hook kick) UFC 160 May 25, 2013 3 4:18 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States UFC Heavyweight title eliminator. Fight of the Night.
Loss 15–2 Cain Velasquez Decision (unanimous) UFC 155 December 29, 2012 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Lost the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 15–1 Frank Mir TKO (punches) UFC 146 May 26, 2012 2 3:04 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 14–1 Cain Velasquez KO (punches) UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos November 12, 2011 1 1:04 Anaheim, California, United States Won the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Knockout of the Night.
Win 13–1 Shane Carwin Decision (unanimous) UFC 131 June 11, 2011 3 5:00 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada UFC Heavyweight title eliminator.
Win 12–1 Roy Nelson Decision (unanimous) UFC 117 August 7, 2010 3 5:00 Oakland, California, United States
Win 11–1 Gabriel Gonzaga TKO (punches) UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones March 21, 2010 1 3:53 Broomfield, Colorado, United States Knockout of the Night.
Win 10–1 Gilbert Yvel TKO (punches) UFC 108 January 2, 2010 1 2:07 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 9–1 Mirko Cro Cop TKO (submission to punch) UFC 103 September 19, 2009 3 2:00 Dallas, Texas, United States
Win 8–1 Stefan Struve TKO (punches) UFC 95 February 21, 2009 1 0:54 London, England
Win 7–1 Fabrício Werdum TKO (punches) UFC 90 October 25, 2008 1 1:20 Rosemont, Illinois, United States Knockout of the Night.
Win 6–1 Geronimo dos Santos TKO (doctor stoppage) Demo Fight 3 May 24, 2008 1 0:44 Salvador, Brazil Return to Heavyweight.
Loss 5–1 Joaquim Ferreira Submission (armbar) MTL: Final November 10, 2007 1 1:13 São Paulo, Brazil
Win 5–0 Jair Gonçalves TKO (punches) Mo Team League 2 September 29, 2007 1 2:52 São Paulo, Brazil
Win 4–0 Joaquim Ferreira TKO (retirement) XFC: Brazil April 29, 2007 1 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Win 3–0 Edson Ramos TKO (doctor stoppage) XFC: Brazil April 29, 2007 1 8:45 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Light Heavyweight debut.
Win 2–0 Eduardo Maiorino Submission (guillotine choke) Minotauro Fights 5 December 9, 2006 1 0:50 São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil
Win 1–0 Jailson Silva Santos KO (soccer kick) Demo Fight 1 July 16, 2006 1 2:58 Salvador, Brazil


See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit

Preceded by 16th UFC Heavyweight Champion
12 November 2011 – 29 December 2012
Succeeded by