A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the two heavyweights’ promotional departures following their removal from the UFC rankings Wednesday but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has not officially announced the moves.
UFC officials did not reply to request for comment by MMA Junkie.
Dos Santos (21-9 MMA, 15-8 UFC) made his promotional debut at UFC 90 in October 2008. He made a statement immediately when he put away Fabricio Werdum with strikes in 80 seconds. The victory kicked off a nine-fight winning streak by “Cigano.”
Included on that run were two title fights: a clinching performance and a title defense. In November 2011, at UFC on FOX 1, Dos Santos finished Cain Velasquez with punches in 64 seconds to become the UFC heavyweight champion. He would follow up that performance with a second-round TKO win over Frank Mir at UFC 146 in May 2012.
Dos Santos lost the belt to Velasquez via unanimous decision in a December 2012 rematch at UFC 155. Following a win over Mark Hunt in May 2013, Dos Santos got his trilogy opportunity but was defeated by Velasquez via TKO at UFC 166 in October 2013.
Over the next seven-plus years, Dos Santos remained a heavyweight contender. From 2018-2019, Dos Santos even established a three-fight winning streak with victories over Blagoi Ivanov, Tai Tuivasa, and Derrick Lewis.
Dos Santos followed up the streak with a four-fight losing skid. Prior to his UFC departure, Dos Santos was finished by strikes in four straight fights – losses to Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Ciryl Gane.
Overeem (47-19 MMA, 13-8 UFC) entered the UFC already an established MMA star who competed in numerous notable promotions including Strikeforce, PRIDE, and DREAM.
In December 2011, Overeem made his promotional debut at UFC 141 and finished Brock Lesnar with a body kick and punches. Over his next four fights, Overeem went 1-3 with TKO losses to Antonio Silva, Travis Browne, and Ben Rothwell.
Overeem turned around his bad luck, however, and rattled off a four-fight winning streak with victories over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, Junior Dos Santos, and Andrei Arlovski.
Over the span of his next 11 bouts leading to UFC exit, Overeem would have his ups and downs. Prior to his departure, Overeem won back-to-back fights against Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai before he was finished with punches by Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night 184 on Feb. 6.