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Former UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos to make pro wrestling debut with AEW

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Junior dos Santos is set to follow in the footsteps of former rival Cain Velasquez.

UFC 256: Junior Dos Santos v Ciryl Gane
Junior dos Santos at UFC 256.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

According to ESPN former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is set to make his pro wrestling debut. JDS’ first performance is slated to take place with All Elite Wrestling on either October 15 or October 16.

Dos Santos is due to appear in a six-man tag match, partnering with wrestlers Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. His opponents are set to be Chris Jericho, Jake Hager (who also fights in Bellator) and Sammy Guevara.

Jorge Masivdal is scheduled to appear in dos Santos’ corner.

The 37-year-old dos Santos was released from the UFC in March. That came after four TKO losses in a row, to Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and—most recently—Ciryl Gane.

The Brazilian first entered the Octagon in 2008 and took the promotion by storm. His debut was a TKO over Fabricio Werdum. He then TKO’d Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Gilbery Yvel and Gabriel Gonzaga.

After a decision win over Roy Nelson, dos Santos beat Shane Carwin in a title eliminator bout. That set up a title fight with Cain Velasquez in November, 2011.

Dos Santos KO’d Velasquez in around a minute in the main event of the UFC’s first ever show on FOX. After defending his title against Frank Mir, dos Santos rematched with Velasquez in late 2012. Dos Santos lost that bout in an extremely lopsided unanimous decision.

Dos Santos’ record had been up and down since then until the losing streak that ended his UFC career.

His former rival Cain Velasquez, who he fought for a third time in 2013 (losing by TKO), also transitioned to pro wrestling after hanging up his gloves. Velasquez has appeared in the WWE, as well AAA in Mexico.