Former Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight Brad Pickett has officially come out of retirement after signing a multi-fight contract with Absolute Championship Berkut. Pickett will return to competition in his native London in August, in ACB’s first-ever event in England, the promotion confirmed on Thursday.
Pickett was a popular bantamweight contender during his stint in World Extreme Cagefighting and was part of the inaugural class of sub-155-pound fighters who joined the UFC in the wake of that merger. “One Punch” is also one of just two men to defeat UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, which remains the biggest feather in the Englishman’s cap to this very day.
Pickett (25-14) found mixed success after coming over to the UFC from the WEC in 2011 and ultimately ended his UFC career on a 1-6 run, having lost to Urijah Faber in Faber’s retirement fight before losing by TKO to Marlon Vera in Pickett’s own farewell fight last year.
Pickett says he will remain at bantamweight, where he competed for the majority of his MMA career. While an opponent has yet to be named, Pickett already has a dance partner in mind for his comeback fight: fellow WEC and UFC veteran Takeya Mizugaki, who picked up his first win since 2015 under the ACB banner, defeating Pietro Menga by unanimous decision in May.
“I wanted to fight Takeya Mizugaki a few times in the UFC but it never materialized” Pickett told MMA Fighting. “He’s with ACB too so it seems like a good time to do it. He’s an older guy as well so I think it’s more on my playing field. I don’t need to fight some young kid. I don’t have a point to prove, I just want to be involved in a really good fight.”
Absolute Championship Berkut is a Russia-based MMA promotion that boasts a roster containing former UFC fighters Albert Tumenov, Mizugaki and Thiago Silva. Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir has provided color commentary for ACB’s English-language broadcasts since 2016.