Former UFC champion Robbie Lawler and former number one contender Stephen Thompson is being targeted for a card in early 2019.
MMAjunkie were the first to report the impending booking between scrap-master Lawler (28-12) and Kickboxing ace Thompson (14-3-1). The UFC has yet to make an official announcement, but direct sources from the UFC are said to be reliable.
Lawler, still clinging on to his top 10 status in the welterweight rankings, will return to the octagon after a more than year-long layoff. He hasn’t fought since a loss to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 26 in December. “Ruthless”, now 36, is 1-1 since he dropped the 170-pound title to Tyron Woodley in July 2016.
“Wonderboy” Thompson will enter the event following a somewhat closely contended loss to current title contender Darren Till at UFC Fight Night 130 in May. Prior to that, Thompson had suffered just one loss in 10 fights, with that result being a majority-decision defeat against champ Woodley.
The January fight card is expected to be the first under the UFC’s deal with ESPN which begins in early 2019. A location and venue for the card have yet to be finalised.