BALTIMORE – Though the UFC has hosted three fight cards in 10 days, they’ve been busy fortifying the heavyweight ranks as well. The promotion recently announced that former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski was back in the UFC after six years away.
UFC president Dana White tweeted on Thursday "welcome back Andrei Arlovski," just hours after his previous promotion WSOF released him.
At the UFC 172 post-fight scrum, White was asked what prompted the UFC to bring the 35-year old back in after so long.
"I like him," White said. "He’s on a win streak and the window is closing for Andrei Arlovski. They really wanted a fight, and he’s always been an honorable guy and so has his manager, and I said yes."
Arlovski is slated to make his return against Brendan Schaub at UFC 174 on June 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He last appeared in the Octagon back on March 1, 2008, when he fought Jake O’Brien at UFC 82 in Columbus on the prelims, a fight he won via TKO. Since that time Arlovski has gone 8-5-1 in WSOF, Affliction and Strikeforce, though over the last eight fights he’s gone 6-1-1.
White said that Arlovski’s camp initiated the conversation to come back to the UFC. Asked if he had been on the UFC’s radar – or if he’d seen any of Arlovski’s recent fights – White simply said, "nope."
"I like Andrei, we brought him back," he said. "He’ll fight Brendan Schaub and we’ll see what happens."
Arlovski’s lone loss in he last few years was in a heavyweight fight with Anthony Johnson, who himself made a successful return to the UFC against Phil Davis on Saturday night. When that parallel was presented to White, he said part of the reluctance to bring Arlovski back was the way that looked at the time.
"Anthony Johnson is the one thing I didn’t like about bringing Arlovski back, so that makes me feel better tonight that [Johnson looked good]," he said. "Andrei’s a heavyweight, and he lost to a guy who fought in our show at 170, you know what I mean? So, that’s what really bothered me about bringing Andrei back."
Arlovski was the UFC's heavyweight champion in 2005-06. He defended his title twice before losing the belt to Tim Sylvia at UFC 59.