Augusto Sakai surprised UFC didn’t re-sign him despite co-main event win over Don’Tale Mayes

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Augusto Sakai thought he was going to stay a UFC fighter.

Despite picking up a win in the final fight of his UFC contract and serving as the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 220 in February, the Brazilian heavyweight did not receive a new deal from the UFC. The news caught Sakai (16-5-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) off guard, as he thought he’d secured his placement in the promotion.

“Yes, and I was sad about it,” Sakai told MMA Junkie in Spanish when asked if he was surprised about not receiving a new deal. “I thought the UFC would renovate my contract, and it didn’t happen. However, we have the opportunity to return to the UFC in the future or just fight in other promotions.”

The market outside the UFC has been very lucrative compared to recent years, as many promotions operate in the space. Although bareknuckle MMA and boxing are now a thing for fighters, Sakai plans to stick with MMA, and he’s exploring the landscape as a free agent.

“I still want to continue fighting in MMA,” Sakai said. “I want to fight in mixed martial arts. You never know in the future, maybe I do boxing without the gloves, but right now, right now, I want to continue in MMA.”

Sakai doesn’t rule out a return to the UFC and thinks he’s more than capable of working his way back.

As of now, his favorite memory in the UFC would have to be the height of his run, when he headlined UFC Fight Night 176 against Alistair Overeem with four consecutive wins in the octagon under his belt.

“I think those four consecutive wins at the start of my UFC career and getting to be part of a UFC main event against Alistair Overeem,” Sakai said. “I think that’s a great memory that I have, and I hope, you never know, in the future, I go back to UFC and write that story again.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie