Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga is coming out of retirement to fight once again.
This time around, “Napao” is trading in mixed martial arts (MMA) leather for a pair of boxing gloves and making his professional debut at New England’s Future 4 event in Worcester, Mass., on Oct. 28, per a promotional announcement. The Brazilian’s opponent, Alando Pugh, holds a professional boxing record of 1-10-1.
“RPE is excited to have an athlete of Gonzaga’s caliber making his pro debut on our NEF 4 boxing event,” said promoter Jose Antonio Rivera in an official press release. “We are happy that boxers and MMA athletes trust us in terms of what we are trying to do to help them build their careers.”
Gonzaga, 38, announced his retirement from MMA last year unless he was able to land a bigger payday from UFC. That financial demand was never met and Gonzaga subsequently ended his MMA career, which included a 12-10 UFC record and key victories over notable heavyweights Mirko Cro Cop, Ben Rothwell, and Shawn Jordan.
While many MMA fighters are trying to follow in the footsteps of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who recently lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his own boxing debut, Gonzaga’s crossover to the ring isn’t going to break any records. But if the Brazilian can show the same sort of punching power he did inside of the Octagon, he may be able to string some quality wins together.