Following a year-long hiatus from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, fan-favorite Nate Diaz (17-10) will return to the Octagon to collide with Michael Johnson (16-9) in a lightweight tilt in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 19 at UFC on Fox 17.
The UFC revealed the matchup late Monday evening on its official website.
The bout will be Diaz’s first since getting dominated by Rafael dos Anjos last December. His opponent also is coming off a loss, but under vastly different circumstances as most observers felt Johnson soundly defeated Beneil Dariush on Aug. 8, yet two judges felt differently and awarded the controversial decision to the other man.
It has been tough sledding for Diaz as of late, having dropped three of four to the likes of dos Anjos, Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson. His lone win in the frame came against a declining Gray Maynard.
Adversely, Johnson had entered his last bout on a four-fight winning streak with victories over Edson Barboza, Melvin Guillard, Gleison Tibau and Joe Lauzon. The 29-year-old is currently Sherdog.com’s ninth-ranked lightweight.
UFC on Fox 17 will be held at Orlando’s Amway Center and will be the promotion’s final event of 2015. The card will be headlined by a lightweight title match pitting dos Anjos against No. 1 contender Donald Cerrone.