Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett set for UFC 296

Another high-profile fight has been booked for UFC 296 with former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson facing off with Paddy Pimblett.

UFC CEO Dana White on Friday announced the fight for the Dec. 16 pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He also confirmed a welterweight fight between Stephen Thompson and Shavkhat Rakhmonov that the fighters agreed to earlier on social media. Both fights are likely to serve on the ESPN+ main card.

Pimblett originally didn’t expect to return this year after suffering an ankle injury in his controversial win over Jared Gordon at UFC 282; the U.K. star said the injury was more severe than initially expected.

Now, the 28-year-old gets the chance to pick up a win over the biggest name he’s faced in his career, though the timing of the matchup is certainly under favorable circumstances. Ferguson has lost six straight fights starting with a failed bid for the interim lightweight title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249.

In his most recent outing, Ferguson was submitted by Bobby Green at UFC 291. He later attributed his loss to an eye poke from his opponent that left him unable to perform in the octagon.

Fans and fighters begged Ferguson to retire following his most recent setback, but the interim champ released a defiant statement blaming his loss on a variety of factors inside and outside the cage.

UFC 296’s fight card is still under construction, said White, who earlier this week announced a welterweight title fight between champ Leon Edwards and Colby Covington as the end-of-year pay-per-view’s headliner.