Getting the ax from the UFC could mean instant money woes for some fighters. Middleweight Antonio Carlos Junior isn’t looking at it that way.
“Shoe Face” got his walking papers early this month after his third consecutive loss at UFC 257 at the hands of Brad Tavares. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, the 30-year-old Brazilian fighter says being freed from his UFC contract opens him up to better financial opportunities.
“I do believe it can be a big and positive step for my financial life,” he said. “Many fighters are unhappy with their purses in the UFC, etc.
“Like I said, the UFC was good to me for some time, but I think it’s time for a change.”
At some point, Junior also felt he wasn’t living up to the UFC’s expectations.
“In business, we have to be happy with what we have, and I felt for some time that they weren’t satisfied,” he said. “I think the UFC wants a type of fighter that isn’t who I am.
“I’m not the type of guy that talks too much, so I felt they were unhappy, and that makes me unhappy, too. Other places might have what fits better with who I am.”
Like many who enter the UFC, Junior had goals to be a titleholder. But upon realizing that he may be headed away from that direction, he chose to move on.
“You get upset at first, you had that personal goal you wanted to accomplish,” he said. “I went there for the gold but it’s not only up to us. I wanted to conquer that [title], I wanted to leave as champion, but then I started seeing there are many opportunities outside, so in a way I felt a bit more free because of the negotiations and sponsorships.
“My manager and I are discussing a few ideas... In fact, I’m even feeling a bit more free, a bit more relieved actually. This change will be good for me in a way, both professionally and financially. I think it will be positive.
“The UFC was great for me for some time but I think it was time for a change and we’ll see what comes next.”
Junior made his UFC debut in 2013. Prior to his recent three-fight skid that began in 2019, he held a 7-1 record (with 1 NC).