Andrei Arlovksi will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon at UFC 174, when he faces Brendan Schaub on June 14, 2014, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White announced a few days ago that "The Pitbull" had inked a new deal with the promotion, immediately booking him against "The Hybrid" shortly thereafter.
The fight will mark the first time in six years Arlovksi has competed inside the eight-walled cage, defeating Jake O'Brien at UFC 82 way back in 2008.
According to the Belarusian, the deal came to fruition after his management team approached White about a possible return. And in a blink of an eye, it seems, the deal was done.
"I always knew that I was going to come back sooner or later," said Arlovski during an interview on The MMA Hour. "I knew I was going to come back to the UFC."
But according to Arlovksi, his UFC return wasn't all that simple, as he had to fight his way back to the big show. He also revealed that he wasn't ready for a return to the biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) stage of them all, just a few years back.
"I had some problems a couple of years ago. It wasn't a good time for me," explained Arlovski. "I was sick and I had those three losses, so it wasn't really smart for me to fight (in UFC) back a couple years ago."
Indeed, from 2009-2011, Arlovski suffered the worst losing streak of his career, dropping four consecutive fights, including knockout losses to Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov. Since then, he has won six of eight fights, with one no contest (NC) sandwiched in between, after he illegally head-kicked longtime rival Tim Sylvia under the ONE FC umbrella.
While Arlovski has shown drastic improvement over his latest successful stretch, he will quickly find that the UFC's heavyweight landscape has changed since he ruled the division nearly a decade ago.
It's challenging the new breed of fighter that excites Arlovski, and Schaub will provide the challenge he's looking for.
"He is really tough," said Arlovski. "I believe he is No. 14 in the top heavyweights. I'm not even top 20 right now. It's going to be very tough and very interesting and a very important fight for me."
What say you, Maniacs, do you expect Arlvoski to thrive in his second go-round with the ZUFFA-owned promotion? Or will "Hybrid" spoil "The Pitbull's" UFC return?