As Jorge “The Sandman” Santiago prepares for his third stint with the UFC, he plans to do so in his old weight division, welterweight. Santiago has competed at middleweight for the majority of his career and though he originally started at welterweight, it was in the middleweight division where Santiago found the most success and notoriety in his career. Who is Santiago? He’s one of the most successful mixed martial artists with the one of the worst UFC records. His success outside of the UFC is, in all honesty, incredibly impressive; not to mention what has brought him the most fame. So here are some of the best and worst moments in Santiago’s career.
The Worst: The first part of “the worst” is in regards to his UFC career, which, truth be told, is the majority of the worst. With a UFC record of 1-4, Santiago is ranked with the likes of Steve Cantwell, Yoshihiro Akiyama and John Alessio for worst records in the Octagon.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, three of the four defeats were knockouts, with only one going to a decision. And not just any decision, the worst kind, a unanimous decision. In fact, not only did all three judges award his opponent (Demian Maia) the decision, but on their score cards, Santiago didn’t even win one round; all three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Maia.
Next are his UFC stints. If being released and making his way back three times isn’t the definition of B level fighter, I don’t know what is. Granted, this third time was due to the Strikeforce acquisition. Obviously, Santiago is good enough to beat fighters outside of the promotion, but every time he faces a higher level of competition, he loses. If the UFC keeps bringing him back, they might as well keep him as a gatekeeper. He’s becoming the new Ryan Jensen.
The Best: Part of “the best” for Santiago is, as mentioned above, his record outside of the UFC. Since the time he was released from his first UFC stint, Santiago went 12-1 in his next thirteen fights over the course of four years. That’s an impressive feat no matter how you look at it, with that lone defeat coming in a bout with Mamed Khalidov.
While on that hot streak, Santiago collected two titles at middleweight: the Strikeforce Middleweight Grand Prix title and the Sengoku middleweight title. In winning the Strikeforce title, he defeated two fighters in one night, finishing both in less than three minutes combined.
Santiago duplicated this feat under the Sengoku banner, fighting in the Sengoku Middleweight Grand Prix semifinal and final rounds on the same night, and this time taking care of business in less than two minutes. In doing so, he earned a shot at the Sengoku middleweight title – a title he would earn and later defend in a rematch with Khalidov, winning a unanimous decision.
Lastly, Santiago participated in two incredibly outstanding bouts with Japanese fighter Kazuo Misaki. The first time saw him winning the Sengoku middleweight title and defending it in their rematch. Their rematch was awarded “Fight of the Year”. Both of their bouts went to the fifth round, with their rematch ending with only 30 seconds left in the fight. Overall, these bouts would probably be two of the most exciting fights you’ll ever see.
So there you have it. Jorge Santiago: His Best and His Worst. Santiago will be making his UFC welterweight debut this weekend at UFConFUEL TV: “Barao vs. McDonald” against Gunnar Nelson.