A welterweight showdown of major proportions has been added to the upcoming UFC on Fox 8 card, as Canadian Rory MacDonald will return to action against Jake Ellenberger.
The two UFC contenders have agreed to meet as part of the upcoming card in Seattle on July 27.
UFC officials announced the bout via The Province on Wednesday.
It will be familiar surroundings for MacDonald, as he last fought in Seattle as part of UFC on Fox 5: Henderson vs. Diaz, where he put on a dominant, one-sided performance over former UFC welterweight champion BJ Penn. The young Canadian was then scheduled to meet Carlos Condit at UFC 158 in March, but a neck injury sidelined him from avenging the only loss on his record.
Instead of facing Condit when he returns from injury, MacDonald draws a tough test against a contender who has been looming around a title shot for the past year.
Ellenberger was potentially one fight away from battling for UFC welterweight gold before he suffered a loss to Martin Kampmann in 2012. Since that time, he has returned to form with two wins in a row including a blistering knockout of former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt in March.
Ellenberger has been charging toward the top of the UFC's 170-pound division since losing to Kampmann. Since coming to the UFC in 2009, he has gone 8-2 overall, with his first defeat coming to Condit in his debut fight that he took on one month's notice.
The winner of Ellenberger vs. MacDonald will be in prime position to pounce on a title shot against the victor of champion Georges St-Pierre vs. top contender Johny Hendricks.
While that fight has yet to be scheduled, it looks like St-Pierre vs. Hendricks will go down in the late summer or early fall. Either Ellenberger or MacDonald could potentially be one fight away or even next in line depending on their performance at UFC on Fox 8.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.