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Report: Junior dos Santos leaves Team Nogueira to join Nova Uniao

Sounds like some heavyweight drama is unfolding in Brazil.


Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos has reportedly jumped ship, abandoning his longtime training camp under the Nogueira brothers to do work at Nova Uniao, because we all know the grass is always greener on the other side.

Or perhaps more golden.

Nova Uniao knows a thing or two about producing Brazilian champions, having given the mixed martial arts (MMA) world both Jose Aldo and Renan Barao. It's one of the main reasons why former two-division champion B.J. Penn made the trip south for his upcoming fight against Frankie Edgar.

Globo (translated by Bloody Elbow) sheds some light on "Cigano's" apparent departure.

"Since last week, Gypsy is in Rio de Janeiro and so far didn't show up at Team Nogueira, a team of brothers and Minotauro Nogueira. Instead, Gypsy has trained in Nova Uniao, a rival team. Minotauro is not a bit happy with the attitude of his former pupil and peer has called Gypsy 'vain.' He feels betrayed by his friend who vowed never to face him in a MMA fight. Coach Luiz Dorea is playing the role of firefighter and is trying to put out the fire that threatens to consume the relationship between Minotauro and Gypsy. Since last week, he has said Gypsy will make an exchange program between Nova Uniao academies and Team Nogueira. And then go on to more training in the United States. But yesterday, were present at Team Nogueira Erick Silva, Rafael Feijao, Minotauro Nogueira and preparing to face Roy Nelson. Again no Gypsy!"

Neither camp has commented on the report.

Dos Santos (16-3) is 10-2 inside the Octagon, running through every heavyweight fighter not named Cain Velasquez. While it's not unusual to change camps after a loss, you can make the argument that Velasquez is just the better fighter, as opposed to shortcomings in training.

"Cigano" has 14 finishes in 16 wins.

What improvements Nova Uniao and head coach Andre Pederneiras can can make to the already-lethal striker remains to be seen, but it's not the first major change Dos Santos has made in his combat sports career (see the other one here).

But will it be to his benefit?

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