The next step for the UFC’s middleweight division is finally set.
UFC president Dana White announced Friday that former champion Robert Whittaker and rising contender Dricus du Plessis are set to meet in a title eliminator on July 8 at UFC 290 as part of International Fight Week, with the victor getting the next shot at UFC gold.
“The winner of that fight will fight [Israel] Adesanya later this year, and that fight is targeted for Sydney, Australia,” White announced on social media.
Whittaker (24-6) is currently MMA Fighting’s No. 2 ranked middleweight in the world. The 32-year-old former champ holds a 12-2 record as a middleweight in the UFC, with his only losses coming at the hands of reigning titleholder Israel Adesanya.
Du Plessis (19-2) has won seven consecutive fights, the last five of which took place under the UFC umbrella. He owns notable finishes over Darren Till and Derek Brunson, and is currently MMA Fighting’s No. 8 ranked middleweight in the world.
White also announced two other bouts for UFC 290: A welterweight pairing between Robbie Lawler and Niko Price, as well as a lightweight scrap between Jalin Turner and Dan Hooker.
UFC 290 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Other previously announced bouts for the card include Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez in a featherweight title unification bout, flyweight champion Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja, Bo Nickal vs. Tresean Gore, and Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Manel Kape.