Junior dos Santos

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Junior dos Santos
Junior Cigano.jpg
dos Santos in 2011
BornJunior dos Santos Almeida
(1984-01-30) January 30, 1984 (age 34)[1][2]
Caçador, Santa Catarina, Brazil
Other namesCigano
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)[3][4]
Weight248 lb (112 kg; 17 st 10 lb)
Reach77 in (196 cm)[5]
StyleBoxing, Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out ofSalvador, Bahia, Brazil
TeamAmerican Top Team[6]
TrainerBoxing & MMA: Luiz Dorea
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Yuri Carlton
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Yuri Carlton[7]
Years active2006–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout12
By submission2
By decision5
By knockout3
By submission1
By decision1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: May 13, 2017

Junior dos Santos Almeida (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʒũnjoʁ dus ˈsɐ̃tus]; born January 30, 1984) is a Brazilian mixed martial artist and a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. He is the #7 heavyweight in the world by Sherdog. He has victories over 5 UFC heavyweight Champions, Fabrício Werdum, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, and Stipe Miocic. He also holds wins over notable heavyweights Mark Hunt, Mirko Cro Cop, Gabriel Gonzaga, Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson. As of July 26, 2018, he is #7 in the official UFC heavyweight rankings.[8]


Dos Santos was raised by a single mother. In order to help his family he started to work at the age of ten. He trained Capoeira throughout his teenage years before his first serious contact with martial arts happened at the age of 21, when he began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Yuri Carlton. After only six months of training, dos Santos won a few jiu-jitsu tournaments in Salvador.[9][10] 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 boxing he had his debut professional fight.[11][12]


Early career[edit]

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–present)[edit]

Debut (2008–2010)[edit]

Dos Santos debuted for the UFC on October 25, 2008 at UFC 90. Considered a major underdog,[13] he knocked out top contender Fabrício Werdum at a minute and twenty seconds of the first round with a strong uppercut,[14][15] earning himself a "Knockout of the Year" award.[16]

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.[17]

On September 19, 2009, Dos Santos continued his winning streak and defeated Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 103.[18] 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 verbally submit.[19]

Dos Santos was supposed to fight Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 108. However, Gonzaga pulled out of the bout on November 25, 2009 due to a staph infection.[20] Instead on January 2, 2010, dos Santos fought Gilbert Yvel,[21] winning the fight via TKO at two minutes and seven seconds of the first round.[22]

Dos Santos defeated Gabriel Gonzaga on March 21, 2010, at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones by knockout in the first round.[23] earning him his second "Knockout of the Night" award.[24]

Heavyweight title contender (2010–2011)[edit]

Dos Santos faced Roy Nelson on August 7, 2010, at UFC 117.[25] The fight saw dos Santos use a variety of strikes and, for the first time, a successful takedown.[26] Despite dos Santos' striking ability, Nelson was able to stay in the fight,[27] resulting in the fight going to decision.[28] Dos Santos won via unanimous decision (30–26, 30–27, and 30–27).[29] 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 sidelined the champion for nearly a year.[30][31]

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

On January 11, 2011, it was revealed[by whom?] that dos Santos would be one of the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13, opposite to Brock Lesnar.[32] They were scheduled to face each other on June 11, 2011, at UFC 131,[33] but Lesnar pulled out of the bout due to a recurrence of diverticulitis and was replaced by Shane Carwin.[34] Dos Santos dominated Carwin and defeated him via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 30–26),[35] relying predominantly on his boxing skills,[36] but showed more variety in his game by landing a couple of kicks and completing two takedowns in the third round.[37][38]

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.[39] He defeated Velasquez in 64 seconds of the first round via KO to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship[40] He dropped Velasquez with an overhand right and finished him off with a series of punches.[41] The performance also earned him his third "Knockout of the Night" award.[42] After the fight, it was revealed that he had a torn meniscus in his knee;[43] he subsequently underwent a successful knee surgery.[44]

Dos Santos was scheduled to face Alistair Overeem on May 26, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at UFC 146.[45] On April 4, 2012, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced Overeem had failed a pre-fight drug test.[46] Consequently, Overeem's request for a license was denied.[47] On April 20, 2012, Dana White the UFC president announced Frank Mir would be replacing Overeem.[48] Dos Santos was able to keep the fight standing, showing his superior boxing skills, resulting in a KO in the second round.

A rematch against Cain Velasquez was expected on September 22, 2012 at UFC 152.[49] 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 fell short to Velasquez after five rounds of a one-sided match and lost his title via unanimous decision (50–45, 50–43, and 50–44).[50] 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.[51]

Back into contention (2013–present)[edit]

Dos Santos was expected to face Alistair Overeem on May 25, 2013 at UFC 160.[52] However, in early March, Overeem pulled out of the bout citing an injury.[53] The bout was expected to be rescheduled for a future event,[54] However, on March 9, UFC President Dana White confirmed that dos Santos' next opponent would be Mark Hunt at the same event.[55] In the UFC 159 post-fight conference, Dana White indicated that if dos Santos defeated Hunt, he would be the #1 contender for the heavyweight championship. Dos Santos won the fight via third-round knockout in a bout that earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.

A third fight with Cain Velasquez took place on October 19, 2013 at UFC 166.[56] 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 after landing on his head during an attempted submission and follow up punches from Velasquez.[57]

Dos Santos was expected to face Stipe Miocic on May 24, 2014 at UFC 173.[58] However, the bout was slightly delayed and was scheduled to take place a week later on May 31, 2014 at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale.[59] However, on May 5, it was announced that dos Santos pulled out of the fight citing a hand injury[60][61] and he was replaced by Fabio Maldonado.[62]

A rescheduled bout with Miocic eventually took place as the main event at UFC on Fox 13 on December 13, 2014.[63] Dos Santos won the back-and-forth fight by unanimous decision (48–47, 49–46, and 49–46).[64] The performance earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.[65]

After a year away from the sport, dos Santos had the three-years-delayed fight with Alistair Overeem which eventually took place on December 19, 2015 at UFC on Fox 17.[66] He lost the bout by technical knockout in the second round.[67]

Dos Santos faced Ben Rothwell on April 10, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 86.[68] He won the one-sided fight by unanimous decision (50–45, 50–45, and 50–45).[69]

Dos Santos was originally expected to face Stefan Struve in a rematch on February 19, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 105.[70] However on January 12 Struve pulled out due to a shoulder injury.[71] 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.[72]

Dos Santos faced Stipe Miocic on May 13, 2017 at UFC 211 for the heavyweight title.[73] He had previously beaten Miocic by a close unanimous decision at UFC on Fox: dos Santos vs. Miocic in 2014. Dos Santos lost the fight via TKO in the first round.[74]

Dos Santos was expected to face Francis Ngannou on September 9, 2017 at UFC 215.[75] However, on August 18, Dos Santos was pulled from the match after being notified of a potential USADA violation.[76] On April 24, 2018 dos Santos was clear of intentionally using of Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) by USADA, where dos Santos had taken tainted supplement which contained hydrochlorothiazide from the compounding pharmacies in Brazil. He is eligible to compete immediately as of April 24, 2018.[77]

Dos Santos returned from his suspension and faced former WSOF Heavyweight Champion Blagoy Ivanov on July 14, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 133.[78] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[79]

Dos Santos is scheduled to face Tai Tuivasa on December 2, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 142.[80]

Personal life[edit]

Dos Santos states that Antônio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira is his hero.[81]

He is a Roman Catholic.[13]

In January 2013, he announced that he had divorced his wife of ten years before competing at UFC 155.[82]

On March 9, 2017, Dos Santos' first child was born.[83]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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 17 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 KO (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 Verbal Submission (eye injury) 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 KO (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
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
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 also[edit]


  1. ^ "Junior Cigano". MMA Brasil. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
  2. ^ http://www.mma-blackbelt-brasil.com/category/junior-cigano/
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  4. ^ http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Junior-dos-Santos-17272
  5. ^ "Fight Card - UFC Fight Night Dos Santos vs. Miocic". UFC.com. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Jim Varsallone (May 12, 2017). "Junior dos Santos of ATT for UFC 211 on The Roman Show". Miami Herald. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "JUNIOR DOS SANTOS EARNS BJJ BLACK BELT". fightersonlymag.com. December 11, 2012.
  8. ^ "Fighter Rankings | UFC ®". UFC. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  9. ^ "De garçom a lutador: experiência de vida ajuda Cigano a superar derrota". Globoesporte.com. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  10. ^ "Sobre". Cigano - Official Website. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  11. ^ Dehò, Maurício (2011-11-07). "Cigano foge do rótulo de celebridade em luta da vida e quer nocaute: '5 rounds é chato'" [Gypsy escapes the label of celebrity in the struggle of life and wants KO: '5 rounds is boring '] (in Portuguese). UOL.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
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  13. ^ a b Mindenhall, Chuck (March 2011). "Gypsy Road". FightMagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
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  16. ^ "UFC 90 bonuses: Sherk, Griffin, dos Santos and Fisher each earn $65K". MMAJunkie.com. 2008-10-26. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
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  40. ^ "Junior dos Santos claims title belt". ESPN.Go.com. 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  41. ^ Perez, A.J. (2011-11-13). "Dos Santos stuns Velasquez for UFC title". FoxSports.com. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
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External links[edit]

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