Two of the most recognisable forces in UFC heavyweight history have reportedly parted ways with the promotion. Former division champion, Junior ‘Cigano’ dos Santos and perennial contender, decorated kickboxer, Alistair ‘The Demolition Man’ Overeem have both left the organization — spelling an end to a twelve and ten-year stint, respectively.
Removed from the official UFC heavyweight rankings today, dos Santos and Overeem both dropped knockout defeats in their most recent Octagon appearances, to Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov, respectively. News of the pair’s release was first penned by MMA Junkie reporters, Nolan King and Mike Bohn.
Debuting in the promotion back at UFC 70, Santa Catarina native, dos Santos landed in the Octagon with a knockout win over compatriot, fellow former champion, Fabricio Werdum. Making twenty-four total Octagon appearances, dos Santos recently hit a career skid — dropping four straight knockout losses to Gane, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes, and Francis Ngannou.
A former heavyweight champion, dos Santos is arguably best known for his trilogy of fights with former champion, Cain Velasquez from 2011 to 2013.
With a professional record of 21-9 — including fifteen knockout wins, dos Santos has bested the likes of Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Shane Carwin, Valasquez, Frank Mir, Mark Hunt, Stipe Miocic, Ben Rothwell, Blagoy Ivanov, and Derrick Lewis.
Landing in the promotion at a high-profile UFC 141 headliner in December of 2011, taking main event honours against former champion, Brock Lesnar. Launching a massive knockout win, Overeem failed to ever lift UFC gold during his run — which would’ve added to prior spoils scored in Strikeforce, Dream, and K-1.
With an incredible twenty-five knockout wins and seventeen submission stoppages, Overeem has bested the likes of common-foes, Mir, Struve, Hunt, Werdum, and Roy Nelson, as well as Andrei Arlovski, Sergei Pavlovich, Aleksei Oleinik, Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai — the latter of which just last September.
Drawing each other at UFC Fight Night Orlando in December of 2015, Overeem stopped dos Santos with a massive second round knockout, as part of a winning-run that would falter when pitted with current champion, Miocic.