Last year Antonio Carlos Junior won the PFL’s light heavyweight tournament, an accolade that came with a $1 million cheque. The Brazilian joined PFL in 2021 after being released from the UFC, a promotion he had been with since he won The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 in 2014.
He recently spoke to MMA Junkie about the differences between being in the PFL and the UFC. And it’s fair to say that there’s one big difference that Carlos Junior is pretty happy about.
“I didn’t change much, just the numbers got a little bigger on the bank account,” he revealed.
“I think I made in UFC what I paid in taxes this year. The thing is that I had the contract from ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and it was 10 fights, so it was a lot. That’s what happened to me, you know. I didn’t have a great manager at the time to help me out with this. This cost me a lot of money.”
After winning TUF Carlos Junior went on to fight an additional 12 times in the Octagon. His most successful stint in the promotion was between 2016 and 2019 when he reeled off a five-fight winning streak. That streak included wins over Marvin Vettori and Tim Boetsch.
After that run he suffered three back-to-back losses, to Ian Heinisch, Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares, to finish up his time in the UFC.
He made his PFL debut at 2021’s PFL 2 event, defeating Tom Lawlor by first round submission. He then fought to a no contest with Vinny Magalhaes. He followed that up with a decision win over 2020 PFL champ Emiliano Sordi. He then beat Marthin Hamlet in the tournament final to claim the million dollar prize.
Carlos Junior is set to fight Delan Monte at 2022’s PFL 1 event on Saturday.