Junior Dos Santos preparing for post-UFC career; talking with multiple promotions

Former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos (21-9) is preparing for his next venture in MMA. The former heavyweight champion was released just a few weeks ago by the promotion. 

In the case of Junior Dos Santos, things have changed quickly over the past couple of years. In March of 2019, Dos Santos knocked out Derrick Lewis at a UFC Fight Night. This win put JDS in a title eliminator against Francis Ngannou.

At that point, Cigano had won three fights in a row and he looked like he was the old JDS. However, that is where things turned drastically. Dos Santos was knocked out by Ngannou. After that, he suffered three more knockout losses.

The final loss came to Ciryl Gane at UFC 256. However, that loss is currently being appealed by JDS and his team due to the final blow being around the back of the head. Nevertheless, it’s a loss as of right this second.

After that loss, the UFC decided to let Dos Santos walk. The promotion had been making cuts over the past couple of months and after the fourth straight loss, the writing was on the wall for the former heavyweight champion.

Where will JDS go after the UFC?

Dos Santos appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show this week where he talked about his future. He said that his team is talking with multiple promotions and that he is training as we speak. However, he said that he’d like at least three months to prepare for his next fight.

The former UFC champion already has offers on the table that his team is working through. Obviously, Bellator is being rumored right now. Bellator is needing a little star power in their heavyweight division and JDS would certainly bring that to their heavyweight division.

However, they are not the only game in town for the former UFC champion. PFL is also being rumored, however, they are looked at as a long shot given where they currently stand. PFL already has their heavyweight roster set for their 2021 season.

Time will tell what the next move will be for JDS. If I had to put money on it, I think it’s likely that he ends up in Bellator. Again, their heavyweight division could use some bigger names and despite the losing streak, Cigano would be a great signing for them.

What’s next for Junior Dos Santos after UFC 256?

This past Saturday at UFC 256, Junior Dos Santos (21-9) took on Ciryl Gane (7-0). The former champion entered Saturday on a three-fight losing streak, but more concerning, he had been finished in all three fights.

As the fight got started, Cigano was having a tough time getting inside on Gane. Gane kept the former UFC heavyweight champion at range with a steady kick attack. Whenever JDS would get close, he was throwing everything he had into shots.

It appeared that Dos Santos was just looking for one big knockout blow at UFC 256. He wasn’t putting together crisp boxing combinations, he was head hunting for a knockout. Granted, I figured that’s how he’d need to win, however, he wasn’t sharp in doing so.

After clearly losing the first round, things went really down hill for Dos Santos in the second round. Gane started picking up the pace a little and staggered Cigano with a stiff jab. Dos Santos turned away and Gane followed the former champion to the cage.

Once the fighters were along the fence, Gane landed some massive elbows that floored the former UFC champion. Follow up shots caused the fight to get stopped and Dos Santos had suffered his fourth straight loss all by KO or TKO.

What’s next after UFC 256?

Dos Santos protested after the fight at UFC 256 was over. JDS was angry telling the referee that the shot landed to the back of his head. The shot did catch a lot of the backside of his head, however, that was because of the way JDS was turning.

The shot was not intentional and had Dos Santos not been moving, it would’ve landed on the ear. Thus, the shot was legal and the former champion suffered another defeat. I think we’ve seen the last of JDS inside the octagon.

That pains me to say as someone who’s always been a massive fan of Junior Dos Santos. I’ve always been a fan and he’s arguably the nicest guy in the UFC. However, four straight KO or TKO losses doesn’t spell well for the former champion.

Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that JDS might be done with the UFC. Considering the roster cuts that are also occurring, I think JDS will be looking for a new home after this loss.

I don’t think Dos Santos will retire. He will likely move on to another promotion, but it’ll be interesting to see where he goes. If I had to take a guess, I would say that PFL would be the favorite to land the former champion.

Ciryl Gane stops Junior Dos Santos at UFC 256

Ciryl Gane UFC

Kicking off the main card tonight at UFC 256 was a heavyweight clash between Junior Dos Santos (21-8) and Ciryl Gane (6-0). The former champion’s back was against the wall coming into this one.

Dos Santos entered the cage riding a three-fight losing streak. However, it was the way he’s lost his last three that have UFC fans wondering if he’s near the end. Cigano has been stopped in three straight outings.

Gane is on the other end of the spectrum. The French heavyweight prospect is looked at by many as a future champion. After tough year full of UFC cancellations, Gane was looking to make a massive statement tonight against Junior Dos Santos.

UFC 256 Recap:

Round 1

As the opening round at UFC 256 got underway, both were very light on their feet. Gane was frequently switching stances then used front kicks to start the striking. Dos Santos was trying to find his range with straight shots.

Gane continued to bounce and throw leg kicks. Dos Santos landed a decent uppercut as Gane got on the inside. Gane then countered with a very decent body kick. Dos Santos started to put a little pressure on Gane, but he was a little out of range to land shots.

Gane continued to land some decent kicks halfway through the round. The former UFC champion was throwing everything into his shots, but nothing was landing in the first. Gane continued to pepper Dos Santos’ legs with kicks.

Dos Santos threw a spinning back kick, but again couldn’t land. One minute left in the round and Gane lands another really good body kick. Dos Santos tried to catch a kick and get a takedown, but couldn’t land it. Dos Santos landed some good shots at the end, but a really good first round for Gane.

Round 2

As the second round at UFC 256 got underway, Gane went right back to throwing leg kicks. Dos Santos appeared to be trying to time Gane, but Gane was staying just out of range of Cigano’s big shots.

A minute into the round and Gane continued to land good kicks. Dos Santos landed a good right hand and Gane pushed JDS against the fence. Dos Santos was able to separate and get things back to striking.

Then out of no where, Gane lands a massive jab that hurts the former UFC champion. An elbow drops JDS and Gane finishes him off with a couple of shots.

Ciryl Gane def. Junior Dos Santos by TKO – Round 2

UFC 256 Preview: Junior Dos Santos – Ciryl Gane

Kicking off the UFC 256 PPV main card tomorrow night is a fantastic matchup in the heavyweight division. Former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-8), will be taking on top heavyweight prospect Ciryl Gane (6-0).

This is an incredibly important fight for the former UFC heavyweight champion. Junior Dos Santos is facing a very difficult reality after his last three performances. Dos Santos has been knocked out in three straight UFC appearances.

In March of 2019, Dos Santos finished Derek Lewis in what was his third win in a row. The former champion looked to be poised to make another run at the title. However, then he ran into Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou finished Dos Santos in just 71 seconds. After that fight, Dos Santos was knocked out by Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Dos Santos looked really good early in the Rozenstruik fight, but a blitz by Bigi Boy resulted in a knockout.

Given the UFC‘s recent announcement about cutting the roster down, a loss could spell the end for Dos Santos. While Cigano is potentially fighting for his career, Ciryl Gane is fighting to make the next leap in his MMA career.

The former professional kickboxer turned mixed martial artist is off to a fantastic start in his career. Gane is a massive heavyweight, but he moves like a guy in the middleweight division. Extremely explosive but also very efficient when he’s in the cage.

In addition to his incredible striking, Gane has very good skills on the ground. Half of his wins so far have come via submission. He even pulled off a heel hook which is not something you see normally for the heavyweights. He has all the makings of a future champion.

UFC 256 Prediction

The sad reality of this fight is that I don’t think it’s that hard to predict. A few years ago, I would have loved this UFC 256 matchup. It would have been incredibly hard to predict given the skillsets of both men.

However, it is a different time now and Junior Dos Santos is not the same fighter he used to be. We see glimpses of the old Cigano whenever he’s in the cage. He looks to be in great shape and his hands still look incredibly crisp.

However, he still doesn’t have answers for fighters who really push him against the fence and his chin is deteriorating. I see Gane marching Dos Santos down in this fight and I think he’ll give the former champion a lot of problems.

Dos Santos’ only chance to win this fight is catching Gane and knocking him out. I do not see this fight going the distance and unfortunately for Cigano, I see him suffering his fourth straight knockout loss at UFC 256.

Prediction: Ciryl Gane by TKO – Round 1