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Junior dos Santos considering boxing move, Fedor Emelianenko fight after UFC release

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Former UFC heavyweight champion is keeping his options open after his release from the promotion.

UFC 256: Weigh-Ins
Junior dos Santos was released from the UFC after 12 years with the promotion.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

After a 12-year stint in the UFC, former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos has a lot to consider before making the next move of his professional career, but not due to a lack of options.

In an interview with Ag Fight, ‘Cigano’ explained what are some of the choices on his mind, before making a decision. A boxer at heart, the Brazilian cannot rule out going back to his roots and trying his hand at professional boxing once again. In fact, Junior says he already has offers to think about.

“I’m taking some time to analyze this situation and choose my next step with certainty. I have offers. From boxing, too, which is my passion. Of course that it needs to be interesting for all parties, but I think it would be amazing if it ends up being viable. It would be pretty cool. I’ve always wanted to do that. When I focus solely on boxing, I do pretty well. I love the noble art.”

However, going back to using only his fists is not all Cigano wants to do, as he still believes there might be a future for him in mixed martial arts. Especially if he is able to face some of the legends he always wanted to take on, but never hand the chance. Namely iconic heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, Bellator champion Ryan Bader and even former rival Alistair Overeem.

“I’m a big fan of Fedor and it would be pretty cool to face him. I’m not sure about his situation. I don’t know if he’s still fighting. I do know he’s with Bellator. Bader called us out, too. He wanted to welcome us, I think that would be really interesting. He’s a really tough guy, too. A rematch against Alistair Overeem, who always finds a way to avoid that topic. It can be in Bellator or wherever.”

Dos Santos (21-9) left the UFC on a four-fight losing skid, with TKO losses to Ciryl Gane, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou. Overall, the 37-year-old left the promotion with a 15-8 record. Cigano’s latest win dates back to March 2019, when he TKO’d Derrick Lewis.