It didn't take long for the UFC's freshest contender, Anthony Johnson, to find out who his next opponent will be.
"Rumble" will face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at the next UFC on FOX card, which goes down July 26 in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center (formerly HP Pavilion). The pairing becomes the first officially announced bout for the flagship show, UFC on FOX 12. The announcement was first reported by Fox Sports', Mike Chiappetta.
Johnson (17-4) made a successful return at UFC 172 in Baltimore, scoring an upset victory over Phil Davis. The 30-year old Blackzilians fighter was making his light heavyweight debut with the UFC, after stints as a welterweight and middleweight earlier in his career. Johnson, who had acclimated to his bigger frame in World Series of Fighting, has won seven fights in a row overall. By defeating Davis he jumped up the light heavyweight ranks, landing at No. 5 on the official UFC rankings.
Nogueira (21-5), on the other hand, hasn't appeared in the Octagon since his early-2013 upset of Johnson's training partner, Rashad Evans, at UFC 156. The 37-year old veteran has been booked into fights twice since then -- first against Mauricio Rua at UFC 161 in June of last year, and then again against Alexander Gustafsson in March -- but injuries forced him out of each bout. "Lil Nog" has won a pair of fights in a row, which began at UFC 140 against Tito Ortiz.
When he steps in the cage in San Jose, Nogueira will have been out of action for nearly a year-and-a-half. Due to the inactivity, he was removed from the UFC rankings, where he previously sat at No. 5.
The UFC will be returning to San Jose for the first time since UFC on FOX 7: Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez, which happened last April. It'll mark the UFC's fourth visit there since 2010. San Jose has played host to some of the most memorable fights, going back to Dan Henderson's battle with Rua at UFC 139, and Fabricio Werdum's upset of Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce in 2010.