Donald Cerrone (36-16-2): We knew he couldn’t stay away too long. Cowboy is back after only being away for one year, we last saw him compete on May 8th when he lost by TKO to Alex Morono in the 1st round. Cerrone continues to sit atop of the list as the most tenured fighter with the most wins in company history with several fighters such as Andrei Arlovski nipping at his heels for the record. Not much has been discussed in terms of will he compete again or will this be a one time deal, but what is for certain is that the fans couldn’t get a more welcomed matchup in terms of action and nostalgia as Cowboy is set to face another legend in Joe Lauzon on May 7th at UFC 274.
Shogun Rua (27-12-1): After being away from competition for close to two years, former Pride and UFC LHW champion Mauricio Shogun Ruan returns to the sport that made him a legend. The 40-year-old Brazilian fighter is set to make his return to combat at UFC 274 when he takes on another veteran of the sport in Ovince St Preux in a rematch 8 years in the making. Shogun last competed at UFC 255 when he was stopped by Paul Craig via TKO in the 2nd round, he took time off to recuperate as well as work on his game and is looking to get back in the win column, before his hiatus Rua was 5-2-1 in his last 8.
Rashad Evans (20-8): Former UFC LHW and TUF winner “Suga” made his return to MMA after being away for 4 years, he signed a contract with Eagle Fc which is run by Khabib Nurmagomedov, and competed this past January where he made his successful return to MMA when he defeated Gabriel Checco by unanimous decision. The 42-year-old fighter snapped a 5 fight losing streak that saw him not get his raised for over 9 years. Rashad has long been a tremendous athlete and one of the more explosive fighters of his generation, he has endured enough turbulence through his career and is very conscious that he cant maintain this energy forever. While no official word of retirement has been made, Rashad did say he is taking it day by day and is willing to compete again if the right opportunity comes up.
Junior Dos Santos (21-9): Former UFC HW champion and all-around good guy “JDS” is scheduled to return to the cage after stepping away for 2 years. JDS recently became a coveted free agent signing by Eagle Fc who is making moves and paired the former champ against Yorgan De Castro. It will be interesting to see how the former champ reinvented himself
Joe Lauzon (28-15): Former TUF 5 contestant and fan-favourite “J-Lau” makes his return to the octagon after being away for 3 years. The Massachusetts native is fondly remembered as one of the scrappiest fighters of his time while also being a genius. Lauzon has faced and beaten some of the best fighters on the planet, with wins over names like Jens Pulver, Jermy Stephens, Michael Chiesa, Takanori Gomi and Diego Sanchez. We last saw Joe compete during UFC on ESPN Weidman vs Reyes where he stopped Jonathan Pierce by TKO in the 1st. He is scheduled to face Cowboy at UFC 274.
Thiago Silva (21-9-2): How fast things can change. Once a prominent fighter and contender at the LHW division, Thiago Silva has essentially dropped off the map. The Brazilian fighter once dominated and intimidated opponents with vicious striking that earned him 8 stoppages during his UFC tenure, he would lose several key fights against Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, he would end up failing several drug tests as well as committing a crime that got him kicked out of the UFC. He would fight in several different shows but was never able to find his initial success (UFC record 7-3-2) (regional 4-6). Silva is currently on a 2 fight losing streak and hasn’t fought in nearly 3 years, he is scheduled to face Hector Lombard on May 20th.
Luke Rockhold (16-5): While no official word has been given in terms of an opponent or card, we have heard multiple rumours regarding the return of former MW champion Luke Rockhold, not too long ago he was extremely close to returning to competition since his time off in 2019 when he almost fought vs Sean Strickland but had to pull out due to injury. While a comeback fight has not been announced many wonder if it will take place at MW or LHW, Luke is coming off a 2 fight losing streak that saw him KO’d by Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz.
David Branch (22-7): Former WSOF MW and LHW champion is making his return to MMA after a 3-year hiatus, the 40-year-old black belt recently signed with the Asia based promotion One Fc and was set to make his return this past February but the fight was pulled. David is still training and preparing for his return fight which could take place at any moment. Branch is 4-6 in the UFC and 10-0 in the WSOF, he has wins over names like Vinny Magalhaes, Yushin Okami, Jessie Taylor and Thiago Santos.
Houston Alexander (17-16-2): While the “assassin” didn’t return to MMA, he did return to competition after a near 5-year layoff from any competition. Alexander returned to fight in the bare-knuckle arena, where he was successful in scoring a quick 34 second KO of veteran fighter Wes Combs.