Carlos Júnior won it all in 2021, defeating Marthin Hamlet at the PFL Championships last October to earn the light heavyweight belt and $1 million. He earned impressive wins over former PFL champion Emiliano Sordi and former UFC veteran Tom Lawlor en route to the championship.
Before he signed with the PFL, Carlos Júnior had an up-and-down tenure with the UFC at middleweight. He repeatedly had issues cutting down to 185 pounds and didn’t live up to the expectations bestowed upon him after winning TUF: Brazil.
During PFL 1 Media Day, Carlos Júnior was asked if he made more in one year with the PFL than he did during the entirety of his UFC tenure.
“Definitely,” Carlos Júnior told media members. “I don’t know how much exactly, but it was not quite a million. It was a big deal to be able to take care of my family and not have to worry about money.”
Carlos Júnior’s admission is particularly interesting given the recent debate regarding fighter pay in the UFC. It’s unclear how much Carlos Júnior made for each fight last year in the PFL, but he says his $1 million grand prize surpassed his combined UFC paychecks.
Carlos Júnior is far from the only current or former UFC fighter to comment on the UFC’s current pay model. UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones have been critical about how the UFC compensates its roster.
Carlos Júnior will try to repeat as light heavyweight champion, beginning in the 2022 PFL season opener tonight against Delan Monte. He’ll look to keep his undefeated run in the league intact to begin the new season.
What are your thoughts on Antonio Carlos Júnior’s comments?