Diego Sanchez (19-2) will make his highly anticipated lightweight debut against Joe Stevenson (29-9) at UFC 95, which is scheduled to take place from The O2 Arena in London, England, on February 21.
With UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva informing the promotion that he will not be ready to compete on that date, the 155-pound showdown will likely serve as the main event of the pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast.
Sanchez was knocking on the door of a potential 170-pound title shot with a win over Thiago Alves at UFC 90: "Silva vs. Cote" back in October before making the surprise move to lightweight.
It wasn’t the first time, either.
Before back-to-back losses to Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch in 2007 -- the only two blemishes on his professional mixed martial arts record -- the inaugural The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) middleweight champion was on the cusp of a title shot.
Naturally, it never came.
"Nightmare" rebounded with impressive consecutive wins and had "The Pitbull" on his radar before a rib injury forced him off the card at the last minute. It also more than likely spelled the end of his career -- at least for the time being -- in the 170-pound category.
It’s not going to get any easier for Sanchez 15 pounds lighter. And his new career at 155 starts against one of the top contenders in the weight class.
Stevenson -- who was the TUF 2 welterweight winner -- is in a rare slump, losing two of his last three bouts. However, those two losses have come to current division champion, BJ Penn, in a fight for the vacant title and Kenny Florian to determine the next championship contender.
That’s some stiff competion.
The newly-minted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt will begin his climb back to the top at UFC 95. And a win over a big name and top talent like Sanchez in the featured fight of the night will go a long way toward getting him where he wants to be sooner rather than later.
In fact, the same goes for both fighters.
To check out the latest UFC 95 fight card and rumors click here.