It looks like two of the UFC’s longest-serving heavyweights, Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, are no longer with the promotion. TSN Sports first reported that Dos Santos and Overeem had been removed from the UFC rankings, suggesting their releases. MMA Junkie later confirmed the news.
Shortly after, former heavyweight champion JDS released a statement on social media announcing his official departure from the UFC.
“Thanks UFC for a great 12 years! I fought through MMA’s Murderer’s Row to get my shot at the belt. Holding and defending it was one of the great honors of my life. Thanks to every opponent, thanks to every fan and every critic. I’m going to spend some time back at the drawing board, but I’m excited to move on,” Dos Santos wrote.
Overeem (47-19, 1NC) entered the UFC in 2011 already an established heavyweight star, having capturing titles in DREAM and Strikeforce, as well as competing for PRIDE FC. The ‘Demolition Man’ fought once for the UFC heavyweight title, losing to Stipe Miocic by knockout in 2016. Overeem was hoping to make one last run for UFC gold, but was stopped in his tracks by Alexander Volkov last month.
Dos Santos (21-9) has spent the bulk of his MMA career, over a decade, fighting for the UFC. ‘Cigano’ captured the heavyweight title in 2011 against Cain Velasquez and defended it once against Frank Mir. The Brazilian’s release comes on the back of four consecutive stoppage losses, the most recent being against undefeated French prospect Cyril Gane last December.
While the UFC was reportedly intending to cut somewhere around 60 fighters at the end of 2020, so far, their roster trimming efforts have been much slower to roll out. Among the promotion’s recent notable releases, the UFC has parted ways with former Ultimate Fighter winner Antonio Carlos Jr, as well as multiple time middleweight title contender Yoel Romero, and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.