So much for Alistair Overeem's immediate title shot.
The sidelined UFC heavyweight star plans on making his return to the Octagon at UFC 156 in Las Vegas, where he'll meet Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, according to a Tuesday report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The match is contingent upon Overeem being relicensed by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Overeem is suspended in Nevada through Dec. 27 and must apply and be approved for a new fighter's license before the bout can be made official.
The UFC has confirmed verbal agreements are in place in for the fight.
Overeem, the former Strikeforce and Dream heavyweight champion who trains with the Blackzilians in Florida, made his UFC debut on Dec. 30, 2011, with a first-round finish of Brock Lesnar. Overeem was scheduled to meet Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight title in May, but he failed an unannounced drug test held at a March press conference promoting the fight.
While serving his suspension, Overeem has agressively lobbied for a title shot with dos Santos upon his returned, but the timing of dos Santos' title defense against Cain Velasquez on Dec. 29 precludes such a fight.
In the Review-Journal report, NAC executive director Keith Kizer explained Overeem will have to appear before the commission in person to apply for his license, then described the procedure.
"The commission can go any way they want to at that meeting," Kizer told the paper. "They could say yes, they could say no, they could say yes with conditions," Kizer told the paper. "All of that will be on the table, but nothing can happen as far as licensure until after (Dec. 27)."
If he's cleared, Overeem (36-11) and Silva (17-4) will meet in what's shaping up to be a strong card on Feb. 2 at Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center. The bout is headlined by a quasi-super fight, as former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar challenges current featherweight champion Jose Aldo Jr.; and Rashad Evans is expected to return and meet Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
For his part, Silva (17-4) snapped a two-fight losing streak with his first-round knockout of previously unbeaten Travis Browne on Oct. 5.
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