The UFC has announced a bout between two former Strikeforce middleweight champions, Joe Lauzon and Anthony Johnson, as the first title fight of UFC 182 takes place at The Forum on March 23.
The fight will be the first of two on the card, which takes place March 30 in Las Vegas.
The fight is a rematch between Lauzon, a former champion of the Strikeforce lightweight division, and Johnson, a welterweight who made his UFC debut in March of 2016.
Lauzon won his first bout by submission in a fight that featured the eventual UFC welterweights champion Matt Brown and eventual title challenger Tyron Woodley.
The pair split to become the first two-time title-holders in Strikeforce history.
Lauzon, who was a three-time UFC champion and a former Strikefighter contender, was last in action on Jan. 27, 2017, when he submitted Dan Henderson.
Johnson, who lost to the winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 18” season 7, went on to win his next six fights, most recently beating Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC Fight Night 52.
Both fighters are now on the rise and are in the midst of winning bouts at a high level.
Lauson (21-8) is the No. 1 ranked lightweight in the world, while Johnson (17-6-1) is second in the lightweight division.
Both have won their first two UFC fights by stoppage and are on pace to repeat their feat for the third time in four years.
Johnson has won his past six fights by knockout and is undefeated.
Johnson is the most recent fighter to earn the distinction.
He has won three straight.
Liuzon (20-9-1), meanwhile, has won five straight, but has yet to fight a title contender.
The former Strike Fighter contender is coming off of his third win, which came by way of decision against Nate Marquardt.
He will look to get back on track in his next outing.
Lauszon has won all five of his UFC appearances by knockout, with two of those wins coming by way “The Mountain.”
He is 2-0 in his past four fights, with a TKO victory over “The American” Anthony Johnson at UFC 196 and a unanimous decision win over “TUF 19” winner Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 202.
Lungzon, on the other hand, has yet for an opponent to earn a victory inside the Octagon, but he is coming out of his first UFC bout with a record of 1-2, including one loss.
The 24-year-old Lauzon last fought at UFC 194 in November, when the Hawaiian fought Chris Weidman and landed a pair of kneebarbs in the second round.
Launzon’s last win was a split decision victory over former Strike fighter Alexander Gustavsson in February of this year.
Johnson’s last bout was a stoppage loss to Tyron Woods in December.
Laughing off the UFC’s decision to go with the former Strike Fighters champion, Johnson said of the match-up: “It’s a big challenge for both fighters, but they’re both looking to get in the octagon.”
The FightMetric.com event will feature the only bouts of UFC’s future card, a middleweight bout between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Pettis, and a light heavyweight bout between Lyoto Machida and Cain Velasquez.
The card will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass and can be seen below.