Former UFC Junior star dos Santos gears up for professional wrestling debut, plans next boxing match

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Junior dos Santos appears to have several options moving forward with his combat sports career following his release from the UFC earlier this year.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion will make his professional wrestling debut on Friday for All Elite Wrestling (AEW). And dos Santos told ESPN on Wednesday that he was also in talks to make his boxing debut.

“Let’s see,” dos Santos said. “I had good conversations, even about boxing. Boxing, I think, would be the perfect way for me to go. I’m a boxing guy, everyone knows that. I never have had official professional boxing bout. Maybe now is the time. “

Dos Santos, 37, did not say when he could fight in boxing or who the opponent could be, as he said he is currently focused on his work with AEW. On Friday, “Cigano” will team up with wrestlers Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky in a tag team match against wrestling legend Chris Jericho, Jake Hager (who also fights for Bellator) and Sammy Guevara.

The match is part of an AEW storyline that involves Team USA dos Santos MMA backing Page and Sky with top USA team owner Dan Lambert as manager at the screen. Dos Santos and several other ATT fighters – including UFC veteran Paige VanZant, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and PFL champion Kayla Harrison – made their first AEW appearances in the frame. of this scenario in August and September. Some have gotten physical in segments, but dos Santos will be the first to actually struggle in a match.

“I wasn’t really a big fan of it [before]”Dos Santos said.” But that thing has changed a lot. After Dan Lambert invited me over to go and see how hard it is. This is no joke, man. These guys are going strong. And they have to be very well prepared for it. So when I saw it all, it interested me a lot. And then I said, ‘Dude, I want to do this.’ Ask Dan Lambert. I was like, ‘Dude, I need to be in this ring.’ “

Dos Santos said the most “incredible” thing for him was the loud and noisy crowds in pro wrestling and the way they interacted with the show.

“This kind of energy was amazing to feel,” dos Santos said. “For a long time I don’t feel like that. A long time I don’t feel that excited to go in the ring and play and give the best of myself and my performance. Dude, I wait with it. impatience Friday night.

“Back then, in the UFC and MMA itself, I felt a kind of pressure all the time. I wasn’t appreciated for being there. Now it’s different. People love me d ‘be there, even if they don’t. I’m not like me. They show it. “

Dos Santos was released by the UFC in March after four straight losses, although they all came up against elite heavyweights.

Dos Santos held the UFC heavyweight titles in 2011 and 2012. He holds MMA victories over former UFC champions Stipe Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum and Frank Mir.

This weekend, dos Santos will be in a professional wrestling ring. But don’t be surprised to see him in a boxing ring at some point in the future, either.

“Let’s see what will happen next, but boxing would be amazing,” dos Santos said. “As you know, I love to knock people out. I love to hit people in the face. That would be a good way forward.”


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