Junior Dos Santos, (aka JDS, nicknamed “Cigano”) born 30 January 1984, is a Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC heavyweight champion. Santos holds notable wins over some of the best heavyweights to ever compete, such as Stipe Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Fabrício Werdum and Frank Mir.
Santos also possesses the record of second most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history, tied with former foe Cain Velasquez with 10 of those alongside being the holder of the longest win-streak in the UFC’s heavyweight division, compiling 9 straight wins.
Junior trains at the world-renowned American Top Team, home to stars such as Dustin Poirier, Douglas Lima, Yoel Romero, and Jorge Masvidal.
JDS has a fighting style predicated around his slick boxing skills combined with his outstanding takedown defence, and even if you take him down, he has a jiu-jitsu black belt to fall back upon.
Santos’ boxing is key to the majority of his victories, with a vicious uppercut and infamous overhand right that won him the UFC title, are two of the signature punches in his arsenal. This expert boxing skill is highlighted, with 15 of his 21 wins being via TKO/KO against the UFC’s toughest competition.
The start of Santos’ UFC career was ablur, seeing him blitz through the competition, putting on a 9-0 start in the UFC. Until his second and third epic fights with one of the heavyweight’s best, Cain Velasquez, in which Junior came shorthanded in the two wars after previously winning the first fight.
After the third Velasquez fight, Junior went on a form of win-lose-win until (after losing to former champion Stipe Miocic in a rematch for the UFC championship) he put together a quick 3-fight win streak looking to be gunning for another shot at gold.
However, coming up against current champion, Francis Ngannou, JDS suffered a first round stoppage and since then went on a 4-fight losing streak to the division’s top contenders leading to him to get cut from the UFC.
This leaves us wondering what’s next for the living legend and former champ? Retirement? Bellator? Whatever’s next, we honour the admirable career and spectacular moments that JDS has given us throughout the years, so let’s dial up Junior Dos Santos’ Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Derrick Lewis – UFC Fight Night 146 (March 9, 2019)
JDS comes out warning Lewis to be cautious as he throws a powerful overhand right. Two minutes in and again, JDS goes back to his infamous overhand right, which this time connects and stumbles Lewis, yet Lewis is also able to connect with his own right hand strike that staggers JDS.
With a minute left for the round, Santos throws a beautiful spinning side kick to Lewis’ midsection that looks to have hurt him, but it seems he may have been playing possum as, when JDS jumps in with the aim of finishing the fight, Derrick fires a huge right that knocks Junior down.
Despite this quick burst of effort, the effect of the body kick still looked evident as Lewis is crumpled over, and Santos closes the distance looking to end proceedings, however, the bell comes before he has a chance to do that.
At a minute and 45 seconds into the second round, JDS lines up a straight right after he lined it up with a snapping jab which wobbles Derrick against the cage, and as he tries to escape, his legs betray him, as he tumbles to the ground. He is then finished by JDS’ punches for the knockout shortly after, at 1 minute, 58 seconds.
This back-and-forth bout earned both fighters the Fight of the Night and a bonus of $50,000.
4. Vs. Gilbert Yvel – UFC 108 (Jan. 2, 2010)
A minute into the first round and JDS blitzes forward, catching Yvel with a left and right, and short left hook. As Santos throws a kick, Yvel throws a strong right that narrowly misses its target.
JDS starts to jab Yvel’s body, backing him up to the cage before putting together a crisp, ducking right hand to the body then slipping under Yvel’s right hand, and coming up with a colossal looping left hook that immediately drops Yvel on connection.
JDS goes on to finish the fight with some powerful ground and pound for the knockout at 2 minutes, 7 seconds into the first round.
3. Vs. Fabrício Werdum – UFC 90 (Oct. 25, 2008)
In 2008, JDS made his debut in the UFC against one of the greatest heavyweights ever, Fabrício Werdum, with just 7 fights under his belt at the time.
In the bout, both fighters trade leg kicks in the middle of the octagon until Werdum initiates a clinch, which Santos quickly escapes. Werdum again goes back to the leg kicks, landing two range finders on JDS’ lead leg.
However, as Junior closes the distance, Werdum looks to throw an overhand but is cut off by a thunderous uppercut that rips through Werdum’s guard, dropping him.
From here, JDS quickly finishes the job with a few extra shots gaining the knockout, just 1 minute, 20 seconds into the first round.
This UFC debut won Santos the Knockout of the Night and a $65,000 bonus alongside FIGHT! Magazine’s Upset of the Year.
2. Vs. Mark Hunt – UFC 160 (May 25, 2013)
In the first minute and a half, Hunt backs JDS up as Santos is respectful of the overwhelming power that Hunt possesses, whilst Hunt begins to catch Junior with crushing leg kicks and short left hook counters.
However, Junior quickly turns the tide as he explodes with his signature overhand right that knocks Hunt off of his feet, and Junior looks for the finish, but Hunt is able to survive.
Hunt tries to get his own back, but the quicker JDS uses effective foot movement and snapping one-two combinations that halt Hunt in his tracks.
With just 15 seconds left in round one, JDS again lands the overhand right, but this time Hunt is able to handle it much better.
JDS still uses great footwork to keep the wrecking ball that is Hunt away, but Hunt is able to land significant lead leg kicks to start the second round. Two minutes in, and once again, Santos finds success with the overhand right that lands behind Hunt’s ear staggering him backwards.
At 3 minutes, 15 seconds into round two, Hunt catches Junior with a leaping left hook and right hand, but Junior handles it well. Soon after, JDS latches on a single leg and is able to control Hunt for the remainder of the round.
Hunt knowing, he needs a finish in the last round, tries to push forward but is met by a razor-sharp JDS jab which had been a common fixture throughout the fight.
With just 2 minutes left in the fight, Hunt looks to be tiring, and the fresher, quicker Dos Santos starts to pick off the slower Hunt.
With 1 minute, 25 seconds left on the clock, Junior lands a stabbing jab that rocks Hunt who now looks to be hurt from the accumulative punishment taken throughout the bout.
At just under 50 seconds left, Junior lines up a majestic, spinning hook kick that lands atop Hunt’s head, immediately knocking him to the canvas and out, at 4 minutes, 18 seconds into the last round.
This fight was a UFC heavyweight title eliminator giving JDS his trilogy match against Cain Velasquez as well as earning him Fight of the Night honours along with a $50,000 bonus.
1. Vs. Cain Velasquez – UFC on Fox 1 (Nov. 12, 2011)
This fight marked the first of a trilogy of truly outstanding fights and gave JDS his first shot at UFC gold.
Velasquez comes out unleashing ruthless leg kicks; however, Santos seems to have game-planned for this, throwing a straight right counter after each leg kick.
As Velasquez pressures forward, Junior uncorks a looping overhand right that connects behind Cain’s ear, dropping him to the floor.
JDS quickly finishes the fight with a barrage of short, quick punches getting the knockout win at just 1 minute, 4 seconds into the first round.
This is arguably the best win of JDS’ career, winning him both the UFC Heavyweight Championship alongside a $65,000 bonus for the Knockout of the Night.