While Albuquerque has long been known as one of mixed martial arts' true hotbeds, the biggest show in the sport has never pulled through town.
Until 2014, that is. The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that the UFC will make its debut in the city on June 7. Former UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson will meet Rustam Khabilov in the main event at Tingley Colisuem.
Henderson (20-3), who lost the title to Anthony Pettis in August, got back into the win column in January with a split-decision victory over Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 10. Henderson hasn't lost to a fighter aside from Pettis since 2005.
As for Khabilov (17-1), he'll be carrying the torch for the local Jackson's MMA gym in his biggest career test to date. Khabilov has won six straight fights and is 3-0 in the UFC. The most recent, a unanimous decision over Jorge Masvidal, was Fight of the Night at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 in Kentucky.
While this is the UFC's first event in Albuquerque area, it isn't the first for Zuffa. WEC 32 in 2008 was held in the suburb of Rio Rancho, a memorable evening in which Miguel Angel Torres and Jamie Varner both won WEC titles.