Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos is headed to PFL.
Santos (22-11 MMA, 14-10 UFC) recently signed a multifight with PFL, ending a 10-year, 24-fight tenure with the promotion. Santos will compete in the 2023 PFL light heavyweight season.
MMA Junkie confirmed the signing with a person with knowledge of the situation after an initial report by ESPN.
Santos is the second UFC contender to make the jump to PFL in recent weeks. In August, featherweight contender Shane Burgos joined PFL after his UFC deal expired – a company mistake according to Dana White.
“It was an amicable separation with the UFC,” Santos’ manager Alex Davis told ESPN. “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.”
Santos, 38, departs the UFC with five losses in his most recent six fights. He headlined numerous UFC events since his debut in 2013, most notably a light heavyweight title challenge at UFC 239 in July 2016 when he lost a split decision to then-champ Jon Jones.
Notable UFC wins include Jan Blachowicz, Kevin Holland, Jack Hermansson, Johnny Walker, Jimi Manuwa, Nate Marquardt, and Anthony Smith.
He most recently competed in August when he lost by fourth-round knockout to Jamahal Hill in a back-and-forth slugfest.