After a six-year absence from the promotion, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will be returning to the Octagon this year. UFC president Dana White confirmed Arlovski’s signing on Twitter yesterday, and MMAJunkie reports that a bout between Arlovski and Brendan Schaub is being targeted for UFC 174 (June 14th; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). UPDATE: Arlovski vs. Schaub is official, and Schaub is pretty psyched about it.
Though Arlovski endured a rough patch in 2009-2011 where he lost four consecutive fights — marked by knockout losses to Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, and Sergei Kharitonov — the “Pitbull” actually ended his first UFC stint on a three-fight win streak, including a decision victory against current heavyweight title contender Fabricio Werdum and TKO’s of Marcio Cruz and Jake O’Brien. His departure was contract-related (and immediately profitable), and since then, Dana White has always been highly complimentary of Arlovski as a fighter and as a person, even while criticizing his career choices.
Arlovski has gone 6-1 since leaving Strikeforce in 2011, including wins over Mike Kyle and Travis Fulton, an ugly decision loss to Anthony Johnson, and a highly satisfying no-contest against Tim Sylvia. Arlovski’s contract with the World Series of Fighting had recently expired, and although the WSOF had the option to extend it because he had pulled out of his last fight due to injury, the promotion agreed to release him when he was offered a UFC contract.
“Arlovski brought attention to us when we needed it,” said World Series of Fighting executive vice president Abdel-Aziz. “At this point, I wish him the best of luck back in the UFC.”