Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos PFL photo


  • PFL has signed UFC veteran Thiago Santos
  • Santos will make his promotional debut next season
  • A handful of fighters could be interesting matchups for Santos' debut

Just weeks after the Professional Fighters League (PFL) announced the signing of exciting bantamweight Shane Burgos, the promotion has just announced the acquisition of another big name to watch out for next season.

It was revealed that former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos will be taking his talents to PFL and will be making his promotional debut next season.

"That's official, I am in PFL, and I will be for the next season, 2023. Let's go, I want to take the $1 million," Santos said in a tweet posted by PFL.

He also tweeted a photo of himself signing the contract.

Santos comes to PFL with a 22-11 professional mixed martial arts record and 15 wins coming by way of knockout.

"Maretta" is coming off a nine-year stint with the UFC, where he amassed a 14-10 record across the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

In 2019, Santos challenged for the UFC light heavyweight championship, losing via a razor-close split decision to then-champion Jon Jones.

The 38-year-old Brazilian also has notable wins over the likes of Nate Marquardt, Anthony Smith, Kevin Holland, Jan Blachovicz and Johnny Walker.

While Santos has hit a bit of a rough patch in the last couple of years, he is definitely an intriguing and exciting addition to PFL's 205-pound division and definitely becomes a favorite to capture the title next season.

With PFL's talent-filled light heavyweight roster, there are already a handful of combatants that could give Santos quite the welcome into the PFL cage,

Emiliano Sordi

Former PFL light heavyweight titleholder Emiliano Sordi has had it rough over his last few outings, but he could be a good gauge to see where Santos stands under the organization's banner.

A win over Sordi can prove that "Maretta" should be a force to reckon with in PFL's 205-pound shark tank.

Josh Silveria

Up-and-coming star Josh Silveria has shown that he can be a threat in PFL's light heavyweight ranks after knocking out Marthin Hamlet and earning a spot in the playoffs in his maiden season.

Getting his hand at the expense of Silveria establishes that Santos is indeed a top contender in the weight class.

Antonio Carlos Jr.

Antonio Carlos Jr. turned in yet another impressive regular season but wound up missing the playoffs due to injury.

A Santos-versus-Carlos Jr. clash would be a must-see matchup for the 2023 season, with one of the division's most dominant stalwarts welcoming the outfit's newest signee.

A victory for Santos in this hypothetical matchup would definitely earn him the attention of oddsmakers heading into next year's postseason wars.

Antonio Carlos Jr.
Antonio Carlos Jr. PFL

2022 PFL Light Heavyweight Champion

There is no better way to welcome the company's newest star than by immediately matching him up with the division's reigning titleholder.

Santos going up against Rob Wilkinson or Omari Akhmedov--who will face each other in the finals for the 2022 PFL light heavyweight crown--would definitely bring fireworks.

If Santos can knock off the newly-minted division kingpin in his first fight with the league, then fans and pundits alike may be looking at the future of the weight class.

Thiago Santos
Thiago Santos PFL photo