Junior dos Santos Almeida (Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʒũnjoʁ dus ˈsɐ̃tus]; born September 12, 1984) is a Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and the current UFC Heavyweight Champion. He is currently ranked as the number one heavyweight fighter in the world by numerous media outlets. Dos Santos debuted for the UFC at UFC 90. Considered a major underdog, dos Santos knocked out top contender Fabricio Werdum in the first round with a strong uppercut, earning himself a "Knockout of the Night" award.
Dos Santos returned at UFC 95 and fought promotional newcomer Stefan Struve by defeating him in the first round by TKO.
Dos Santos continued his winning streak and defeated Mirko Filipović at UFC 103. During the third round, dos Santos dominated Filipović in the clinch with knee strikes and punches. A knee from the clinch and a right uppercut left Cro Cop unable to see causing him to verbally submit from the fight.
Dos Santos was supposed to fight Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 108. However, Gonzaga pulled out of the bout on November 25, 2009, due to a staph infection. Instead, dos Santos fought Gilbert Yvel, winning the fight via TKO in the first round, giving him his fourth straight UFC victory, finishing all his opponents by way of strikes.
Dos Santos defeated Gabriel Gonzaga on March 21, 2010, at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones by knockout in the first round. Dos Santos faced Roy Nelson on August 7, 2010, at UFC 117. The fight saw Dos Santos use a variety of strikes and, for the first time, a successful takedown. Despite dos Santos' striking ability, Nelson was able to stay in the fight, resulting in the fight going to decision. Dos Santos won via unanimous decision (30–26, 30–27, 30–27).
Junior Dos Santos in action against Shane Carwin in the main event of UFC 131.
On January 11, 2011, it was revealed that Dos Santos would be one of the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13, opposite to Brock Lesnar. They were scheduled to face each other on June 11, 2011, at UFC 131, but Lesnar pulled out due to illness and was replaced by Shane Carwin. Dos Santos dominated Carwin and defeated him via unanimous decision, relying predominantly on his boxing skills, but showed more variety in his game by landing a couple of kicks and completing two takedowns in the third round.
Dos Santos faced Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 for the UFC Heavyweight Championship on November 12, 2011. Dos Santos defeated Velasquez in 1 minute and 4 seconds of the first round via KO to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship title. Dos Santos dropped Velasquez with a right hand and finished him off with punches. The performance also earned Knockout of the Night honors. After the fight, it was revealed that he had a torn meniscus in his knee, which is set to undergo surgery in the near future.
Dos Santos is expected to face Alistair Overeem on May 26, 2012 at UFC 146