‘They Were Really Unprofessional’- Junior Dos Santos Reveals Battles with UFC in the Final Days of His Career

Published 10/22/2021, 12:04 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 15: (R-L) Jairzinho Rozenstruik of Suriname punches Junior Dos Santos of Brazil in their heavyweight bout during the UFC 252 event at UFC APEX on August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Former UFC heavyweight Junior Dos Santos spoke to MMA Fighting and shed some light on his departure from the UFC. ‘JDS’ received his walking papers from the organization earlier this year after settling in on a four-fight skid. However, it’s important to note that his losses came to top tier fighter such as Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane.

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With his stint in the UFC behind him, Dos Santos has successfully transitioned into a career at pro wrestling with All Elite Wrestling. He recently debuted at an AEW show and spoke about how fulfilled he felt after switching lanes. However, it’s clear that his final days with the UFC left some rather unsavory feelings towards his long-time former employers.

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Junior Dos Santos pulls back the curtain

Very few fighters speak out against the UFC since it’s the premium stop for MMA fighters looking to make it big. However, Dos Santos has already scaled the mountain and faced the very best that the UFC has to offer. Despite that, he expressed how he felt regarding his UFC release and it’s clear he believes he didn’t get a fair shake.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 12: (R-L) Ciryl Gane of France punches Junior Dos Santos of Brazil in their heavyweight bout during the UFC 256 event at UFC APEX on December 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“They were really unprofessional, let’s put it this way, with the way they treated [me], like they [treat] everybody else,” Dos Santos said. “I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. The last two fights I got were on those terms, ‘You take it or you’re out.’”

“I was always a nice guy because that’s how I like to be, I like being nice to people so people are nice to me,” Dos Santos said. “I learned to be that way in life, to never expect from others something I don’t give them.”

The MMA community would recognize Dos Santos to be one of the most affable figures in the UFC, however, he believes he was taken advantage of.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 11: Junior Dos Santos of Brazil poses on the scale during the UFC 256 weigh-in at UFC APEX on December 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“I was always a nice guy, treating everybody well, always smiling, and in a way they took advantage of it, or treated it as a weakness, kind of putting me down, I don’t know. They tried to take the most advantage they could of the athlete I built, of Junior ‘Cigano,’ especially the way the last fight was, something really odd.” 

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It’s unfortunate to see a legend in the sport like ‘Cigano’ lament about his final days at the UFC being rather contentious. Furthermore, he believes his affable nature was the reason why he was taken advantage of and this won’t sit well with fans of the Brazilian icon. He’ll certainly be putting all his attention towards making it big in AEW.

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Darryl Pinto

1994 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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