(Paulo Thiago gets cracked by Sean Spencer during their fight in September. / Photo via Getty)
After losing his last three fights — and seven out of his last nine — Brazilian welterweight veteran Paulo Thiago has been released by the UFC. Thiago most recently competed at last month’s UFC Fight Night 51: Bigfoot vs. Arlovski, where he lost a unanimous decision to Sean Spencer on the prelims.
Thiago made his UFC debut in February 2009 as a 10-0 prospect, carrying a rad backstory as a B.O.P.E. supercop. He was immediately thrown to the wolves, drawing Josh Koscheck as his debut opponent at UFC 95. Koscheck was a heavy favorite to beat the unheralded newcomer. Instead, this happened:
Thiago dropped a decision to Jon Fitch in his next outing, but then posted back to back wins against Jacob Volkmann and Mike Swick. Suddenly, Paulo Thiago seemed like a legitimate threat in the welterweight division. Unfortunately, that was essentially his career peak in the UFC. He would never win two consecutive fights again, and the opponents he lost to went from top-of-the-food-chain (Martin Kampmann, Diego Sanchez) to pretty dangerous (Siyar Bahadurzada, Dong Hyun Kim) to downright obscure (Brandon Thatch, Gasan Umalatov). The last time people were talking about Paulo Thiago, it was because of his gig working security at the World Cup.
Before his latest loss to Sean Spencer, Thiago signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC, but of course, UFC contracts can be ended at any time by the promoter, because they’re not exactly “contracts” in the traditional sense; don’t get me started. Good luck with your next gig, Paulo.