Junior dos Santos’ next challenge could be one of the heavyweight division’s hottest prospects.
On Thursday, UFC President Dana White told the media at a scrum in Abu Dhabi that officials are working on a bout between Dos Santos (21-8) and the undefeated Ciryl Gane (6-0).
Sources with knowledge of the potential matchup told MMA Fighting that Gane is aiming to fight dos Santos in December.
Dos Santos, 36, most recently fought at UFC 252 where he lost to Jairzinho Rozenstruik to extend a career-worst losing streak to three. The former UFC heavyweight champion has been finished with strikes in all of his losses during this slump, failing to make it past the second round on each occasion.
The booking would be a major step up in competition for “Bon Gamin,” who has shined since joining the UFC in August of last year but has seen all of his 2020 bouts fall through.
A collapsed lung forced Gane out of an April booking with Shamil Abdurakhimov, and then an August bout with Serghei Pavlovich was canceled due to a Pavolvich injury. Gane-Abdurakhimov was then rescheduled for UFC Fight Island 6, which takes place this Saturday, but Abdurakhimov withdrew for undisclosed reasons. Lastly, short-notice replacement Ante Delija saw his bout with Gane canceled due to contract issues reportedly stemming from an existing deal with the Professional Fighters League.
Gane, 29, has been a pro for a little over two years. He won the TKO heavyweight title before jumping to the UFC where he has won his first three fights. Most recently, he defeated Tanner Boser by unanimous decision at UFC Busan in December.