UFC Releases Veteran Welterweight Paulo Thiago

Sean SmithAnalyst IOctober 23, 2014

May 31, 2014; Sao Paulo, SP, BRAZIL; Paulo Thiago (red gloves) before his fight against Gasan Umalatov (blue gloves) during the TUF Brazil 3 Finale at Ibirapuera  Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

A UFC welterweight the past five years, Paulo Thiago has been cut by the world's top MMA promotion.

Since Thiago had lost three in a row, the release was widely expected. MMAFighting.com confirmed the UFC's decision on Wednesday.

In his first trip to the Octagon during February 2009, Thiago shocked the 170-pound class with a knockout win over Josh Koscheck. That looked to be the beginning of a great UFC career, but Thiago was never able to top that victory.

While a submission win over Mike Swick gave the Brazilian some momentum in February 2010, Thiago has struggled since then. In the four years and eight months since that submission, Thiago has only beaten David Mitchell and Michel Prazeres while losing seven times.

Following his win over Prazeres, Thiago was stopped by Brandon Thatch. Thiago then dropped very winnable bouts against Gasan Umalatov and Sean Spencer, which made it tough for the UFC brass to keep him around despite his popularity among Brazilian fans.

At 33 years old, Thiago might not have much time left in MMA. Unless he gets on a roll against some big-name veterans outside the Octagon, it's possible Thiago never earns his way back onto the UFC roster.

With a 5-8 UFC record, Thiago had his moments. However, with the buzz he generated by stopping Koscheck in his initial UFC outing, Thiago's career will likely go down as a disappointment.

Given his career with Batalhao de Operacoes Policiais Especiais in Brazil, there's a chance Thiago steps away from fighting now. If not, World Series of Fighting has a pretty solid welterweight division he might be interested in competing in.

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