Two pioneering heavyweights are no longer on the UFC roster. The promotion recently parted ways with former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos and longtime contender Alistair Overeem.
Sources confirmed the releases after the UFC removed them from its heavyweight rankings and MMA Junkie initially reported their departures.
Dos Santos (21-9) had been with the UFC since 2008. He reeled off nine consecutive victories in the Octagon – including winning the UFC heavyweight title – before losing the belt to Cain Velasquez in December of 2012.
Having defeated the likes of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Shane Carwin, Frank Mir, Derrick Lewis, Velasquez, and current champion Stipe Miocic, Dos Santos fought twice more for the belt. He was unsuccessful in reclaiming gold.
He is currently on a four-fight losing streak, all by way of TKO stoppage. After Dos Santos lost to Ciryl Gane, UFC president Dana White said he would like to see Dos Santos retire. While that doesn’t appear to have happened, the UFC opted to part ways with its former titleholder.
Though Overeem (47-19, 1 NC) hadn’t been with the UFC as long as Dos Santos, he has been fighting professionally much longer. He began his mixed martial arts career in 1999.
Overeem fought all around the globe, fighting for pioneering promotions such as Rings, 2 Hot 2 Handle, M-1, Pride, K-1, Dream, and Strikeforce, before beginning his UFC tenure in 2011.
Having won championships under the Dream and Strikeforce banners, Overeem fought once for the UFC belt, but was never able to have it wrapped around his waist.
Having gone 4-4 over his last eight bouts, Overeem has been unable to win the bouts against top contenders like Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Ronzenstruik, and Curtis Blaydes, the bouts that would get him back into title contention.
At 40 years of age and having recently lost to Alexander Volkov, the UFC opted to part ways with Overeem.
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