Jeff Monson earned a unanimous decision victory over former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez during this past Saturday’s Mixed Fighting Alliance event in Miami at the American Airlines Arena and in doing so, potentially moved one step closer to a UFC return.
The possibility of Monson coming back to compete in the Octagon was first reported by Ryan Hockensmith during last week’s edition of ESPN.com’s “MMA Live.”
Hockensmith reported that Monson is expected to fight once more in Japan for the Sengoku promotion but that he has indicated he’s been involved in contract talks with the UFC.
“If Monson wins, he’ll fight once more in Sengoku in Japan,” Hockensmith said. “Then he expects to return to the UFC. He’s had a lot of conversations with them.”
According to Hockensmith, the talks between the UFC and the two-time Abu Dhabi champion have progressed to a point that even a potential opponent has been discussed, with a future bout between Monson and Cheick Kongo discussed as a possibility.
Monson, a jiu-jitsu black belt, last competed for the UFC in November of 2006 at UFC 65 where he challenged then-champion Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight title. In that fight, Monson lost a five round unanimous decision and was released per his own request soon after the fight.
Since leaving the UFC, Monson has competed seven times in promotions such as PRIDE and Art of War in addition to the aforementioned Sengoku. During that span he has gone 5-2 with notable wins over Rodriguez, Kazuyuki Fajita, Mark Kerr, and Jimmy Ambriz and losses to Josh Barnett and Pedro Rizzo.