Injured Tarec Saffiedine planning UFC return 'soon,' eyes top five welterweight

Suhaimi Abdullah

"Sponge" says he's ready to return to the Octagon soon, and when he does, he wants a top five opponent to prove his worth.

With fighters like Matt Brown, Tyrone Woodley, Hector Lombard and Robbie Lawler making waves in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight division, it's real easy to forget another dangerous contender lurking in the shadows.

Tarec Saffiedine.

The Belgium-born fighter made a successful UFC debut earlier this year by battering Hyun Gyu Lim at UFC Fight Night 34 in Singapore. But, the Team Quest fighter suffered an injury a few months later that knocked him out of his scheduled bout against Jake Ellenberger at UFC 172.

"Sponge," however, is ready to return to action as soon as possible, as his manager, Bobby Cavian tells "UFC Tonight" (via FOX Sports) that the dangerous striker is planning to return soon; though no exact timeline was given.

And when he does, he doesn't want a "gimme" fight as he eyes a top five ranked welterweight, which could make for interesting match ups in the talent-filled division.

Currently, all of the top five ranked welterweights are booked to face one another, as Robbie Lawler (No. 1) takes on Jake Ellenberger (No. 5) this weekend (May 24, 2014) at UFC 173, while Rory MacDonald (No. 2) and Tyrone Woodley (No. 3) are gearing up to throw down next month at UFC 174.

Carlos Condit (No. 4), meanwhile, is still nursing an injury and there is no telling when he'll be back following surgery.

There is always Matt Brown, who is looking for a fight -- preferably a championship bout -- after dominating Erick Silva a few weeks ago.

The options for Tarec are endless, but you can bet he'll be an interested observer when "Ruthless" and "The Juggernaut" collide this weekend in "Sin City."

After all, either one of those two men could be his next dance partner inside the Octagon. Unless you have someone else in mind?

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