After an eight-year absence, Robbie Lawler will return to the Octagon on Feb. 23 to face Josh Koscheck at UFC 157.
The Orange County Register first reported the news, and Sherdog.com verified the booking Thursday with a source close to the fight.
UFC 157 takes place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title tilt pitting reigning queen Ronda Rousey against onetime Strikeforce title contender Liz Carmouche.
Lawler has not competed at welterweight since 2004, when he was upset by Nick Diaz at UFC 47. Moving to 185 pounds for his next bout, “Ruthless” made his last Octagon appearance in a UFC 50 submission loss to Evan Tanner.
The Iowan then parted ways with the Las Vegas-based promotion and went on to win the Icon Sport and EliteXC middleweight titles before signing with Strikeforce in 2009. Lawler posted a 3-5 record with that organization, coming up short in his bid to capture the Strikeforce middleweight belt from Ronaldo Souza in January 2011. Most recently, the hard-hitting southpaw was outpointed by Lorenz Larkin on July 14.
Koscheck has won five of his last seven fights. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 alumnus challenged Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title two years ago, only to have his orbital bone broken by the champion’s jackhammer jab en route to a unanimous decision defeat. “Kos” then saw back-to-back victories over Matt Hughes and Mike Pierce spoiled by a hard-fought split decision defeat to Johny Hendricks this past May at UFC on Fox 3.