Josh Thomson was supposed to be in the final stretches of preparing to fight for the UFC lightweight championship next month, but with titleholder Anthony Pettis injured and facing the prospect of surgery, Thomson has moved on to the next best available matchup.
That happens to be the man who held the belt before Pettis, former champ Benson Henderson. The two will face off in the main event of a UFC on FOX show scheduled for Jan. 25 at the United Center in Chicago.
Dana White announced the pairing over the weekend.
Thomson returned to the promotion in April, becoming the first man ever to knock out Nate Diaz, pulling off the trick with a head kick and punches in the second round of their bout.
Prior to that, Thomson (20-5, one no contest) had last competed in the UFC in 2004, going 2-1 during a brief run. He would later go on to win the Strikeforce lightweight championship.
Henderson (19-3) will be attempting to regain the form that brought him to the top of the division and kept him there for three successful defenses. The 30-year-old lost his belt to Pettis in August via armbar, ending his seven-fight win streak.
The appearance on FOX will be Henderson’s third in his last four bouts.
It will also be the third consecutive year the UFC will have visited Chicago in January. The most recent event in 2013 drew over 16,000 to watch Demetrious Johnson successfully defend his UFC flyweight championship with a decision over John Dodson.