Twice Gray Maynard appeared to be just moments away from capturing UFC lightweight gold, and twice Frankie Edgar has rallied from the brink of defeat to deny him.
“The Bully” will get his opportunity to move back into title contention on June 22, as he squares off with Clay Guida in UFC on FX 4 main event in Atlantic City, N.J. Promotion officials announced the five-round headliner on Sunday evening; no other matches have been revealed for the event.
Best known for his two most recent battles with Edgar, Maynard was unbeaten in 12 bouts as a professional before “The Answer” defeated him via fourth-round knockout in their UFC 136 encounter. That bout was a rematch of their UFC 125 meeting, a draw which earned Sherdog.com’s 2011 “Fight of the Year” honors. A veteran of Season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Maynard owns noteworthy victories against Kenny Florian, Nate Diaz, Jim Miller, Dennis Siver and Edgar during his Octagon career.
After consecutive losses to Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian to close out 2009, Guida reeled off four consecutive victories, knocking off Shannon Gugerty, Rafael dos Anjos, Takanori Gomi and Anthony Pettis to earn a No. 1 contender bout with Benson Henderson last November. The Jackson’s MMA product came up short against the current lightweight champion, however, falling in a hard-fought three-round decision at UFC on Fox 1.
The UFC also announced on Sunday that verbal agreements are in place for a 185-pound clash between former middleweight king Rich Franklin and San Shou specialist Cung Le at UFC 148on July 7.
Franklin has been on hiatus since February of last year, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 126. “Ace” hasn’t competed at middleweight since he defeated Travis Lutter in 2008. Since moving up to 205 pounds, the Cincinnati native has been victorious against Matt Hamill and Chuck Liddell, while falling to Dan Henderson and Griffin. He has also split a pair of 195-pound catch-weight affairs, besting Silva at UFC 99 while falling to Vitor Belfort at UFC 103.
A former Strikeforce middleweight titlist, Le made his UFC debut in November, falling to Wanderlei Silva by second round technical knockout in a contest that would earn co-Fight of the Night accolades -- along with Mauricio Rua and Dan Henderson -- at UFC 139. It was the 39 year old’s first competition since he out Scott Smith in June 2010.
UFC 148, which takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, features a bantamweight title tilt between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, both of whom are coaches on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter Live.”