Thiago Santos Parts With UFC, Joins PFL
After nine years on the roster, former UFC light heavyweight championship contender Thiago Santos has left the organization to join the Professional Fighters League (PFL).
Santos is anticipated to make his professional debut as a 2023 light heavyweight division member.
PFL president Ray Sefo said in an interview with ESPN:
“We are very excited to bring in Thiago Santos to the PFL light heavyweight division. He is known throughout the MMA world as a guy who delivers exciting fights, and I’m looking forward to seeing his elite knockout power up close.”
Santos initially caught the attention of the UFC on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 2 in 2013, and that was as a welterweight.
Since formally joining the organization, “Marreta” has made waves as a middleweight, establishing a reputation as a genuine knockout artist with the ability to throw devastating Capoeira kicks.
He moved up to 205 pounds and battled opponents like Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz to earn a title bout against Jon Jones — a fight many fans still argue he should have won.
After the Jones match, Santos underwent double knee surgery, and his record fell to 1-4. He lost his most recent fight in August to Jamahal Hill, who knocked the veteran out in the fourth round.
Alex Davis, the manager of the Brazilian team, also talked to ESPN and discussed a mutual departure and his goal to take home the PFL jackpot:
“It was an amicable separation with the UFC. Thiago is very grateful for everything the UFC did for him, and he’s very grateful toward the PFL for signing with him. He’s looking forward to winning a million dollars.”