Jorge Santiago has chosen a new home, signing a contract to return to the UFC to face Brian Stann at UFC 130 in May.
Santiago broke the news on MMAWeekly Radio Tuesday night.
“I came here with my manager to tell you guys firsthand on MMAWeekly, I finally signed today. It’s official, I’m a UFC fighter and I’ll be fighting May 28 against Brian Stann. That’s what’s up,” Santiago revealed.
“After two years of fighting in Japan, there’s nobody else to fight. This stage in my life I was thinking about having more challenges for myself. I’m in the Top 10, been ranked for two years already. This was big stuff, giving my belt away, and ask for my release to come back to the United States and do it one more time in the UFC.”
Granted his release from Sengoku, where he reigned as the middleweight champion, Santiago was one of the top free agents in the sport. It didn’t long before he settled on a return to the Octagon.
Working with the team at Authentic Sports Management, Santiago sealed the deal with the UFC to compete in their middleweight division.
He does have prior UFC experience, going 1-2 during a brief stint there, but Santiago now believes he’s a renewed fighter. Something he’s ready to prove against Brian Stann.
“I’ve been fighting all over the world, I have a lot of experience in Europe and Japan and all over the place. I didn’t want to rush, I wanted to take my time, and I’m starting everything over again,” Santiago said. “Right now, I’m more mature. I know what I need to do, what I have to do, and how I have to train to reach my full potential.”
With champion Anderson Silva seemingly out of challengers, Santiago also breathes new life into the division. He is currently ranked in MMAWeekly’s World MMA Rankings, and has a chance to climb even higher with his return to the UFC.
One thing is for sure, he isn’t coming back just for the challenge or the honor to say he’s fighting in the UFC. He’s coming to add another title to his collection. This time it’s the UFC middleweight belt.
“Grab a pen, grab a pencil, grab a crayon, grab your girlfriend’s eyeliner, grab a napkin, grab a piece of paper, or grab anything you can to write on and write down this day that we tell you, Jorge Santiago’s going to shock the world,” Santiago’s manager Glenn Robinson stated.
“Within 18 months or whenever Dana White says or feels he’s ready, Jorge Santiago’s going to go into the UFC, he’s going to walk into the Octagon, and he’s going to put that belt on because he’s going to walk out with it.”
Santiago will start that climb with a tough challenge at UFC 130, facing Brian Stann in his UFC return.