Former lightweight champion Sean Sherk (33-3) will attempt to get one step closer to reclaiming his 155-pound title when he collides with top division contender Frank Edgar (9-1) at UFC 98 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 23.
MMAmania.com has learned from a source close to the Sherk camp that the bout has been agreed upon and will be a featured fight of the evening.
Sherk failed to reclaim his title against BJ Penn at UFC 84: "Ill Will" back in May 2008. It was his first fight since being stripped of the title and suspended for six months because of a positive test for steroids that he refuted vigorously.
At the ripe old age of 35, the "Muscle Shark" rebounded with unanimous decision win over Tyson Griffin at UFC 90: "Silva vs. Cote," demonstrating much improved striking skills. Primarily known for his overwhelming wrestling attack, Sherk's most recent multidimensional approach earned him and Griffin the "Fight of the Night."
He won the vacant title back in 2006, outpointing Kenny Florian on all three judges scorecards in a blood-soaked five-round bout. His loss to Penn -– the first since 2005 -– snapped a three fight win streak.
Edgar recently sustained a knee injury, which forced him out of a high profile fight against Matt Wiman at UFC Fight Night 16: "Fight for the Troops" on December 10. He was replaced by Jim Miller -- a surging prospect who Edgar defeated earlier in his career -- on short notice.
Prior to being scratched from that fight, "The Answer" rebounded from the first professional loss of his career to Gray Maynard (unanimous decision) at UFC Fight Night 13 to outpoint former number one contender Hermes Franca on all three judges scorecards at UFC Fight Night 14: "Silva vs. Irvin" in July 2008.
The latter bout also earned "Fight of the Night" honors, making a showdown with Sherk -- who is also a wrestler turned mixed martial artist -- a possible up-and-down, back-and-forth action-packed battle.
Edgar recently earned a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu while training at Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu in Hamilton, N.J., under Ricardo Almeida — the star pupil of Renzo Gracie. He is a decorated high school (Toms River High School East) and collegiate (Clarion University) wrestler out of Toms River, N.J., who also moonlights as an assistant wrestling coach at Rutgers University.
Jim Miller, Tyson Griffin, Mark Bocek and Spencer Fisher are just a few of the notable opponents who Edgar has handled, which has helped him rise to the top of the very crowded UFC 155-pound division in short order.
If he can add Sherk to that hit list it would be that much more impressive.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more announcements and fight card rumors regarding UFC 98.