Dana White announced at the UFC 167 post-fight press conference two new headlining bouts for upcoming cards. The first of the two bouts announced was a Middleweight battle between former Strikeforce Middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, and Costa Philippou. That fight will headline UFC Fight Night 35 on January 15th in Duluth, GA. The second fight will be a Lightweight tilt between former champion, Benson Henderson, and former Strikeforce champion, Josh Thomson. The former champs will lock horns at the UFC on FOX 10 show on January 25th.
Rockhold is looking to bounce back from a disappointing UFC debut at the hands of Vitor Belfort. Vitor connected on a highlight reel spinning heel kick and followed up with some violent ground and pound to get the KO finish. The loss snapped Rockhold’s 9 fight winning streak and spoiled his UFC debut. Rockhold was briefly linked to a fight with Tim Boetsch at UFC 166, but an injury forced him off the card.
Philippou is also looking to rebound from a decision loss to Francis Carmont. The loss snapped Philippou’s impressive 5 fight win streak inside the UFC. Philippou was completely dominated in the wrestling and grappling department in the Carmont fight, so we will see how he responds come January.
10 days later, on January 25th, the UFC is back in Chicago for the UFC on FOX 10 show. That event will be headlined by Benson Henderson vs Josh Thomson. Henderson will be looking to rebound from losing his title to Anthony Pettis back at UFC 164. Thomson is coming off an electric victory TKO over Nate Diaz in his return to the UFC. Thomson was set to face Anthony Pettis for the Lightweight title at the UFC on FOX 9 show in December. Unfortunately, Pettis had to pull out of that fight after a PCL injury that will need surgery. Can Thomson solidify his #1 contender spot by defeating the former champion, or will Henderson be back in championship form? In the end, where does this leave former #1 contender TJ Grant? Is an interim belt likely in the future?