Current Tachi Palace Fights lightweight champion, former WEC lightweight champion, and one-time UFC veteran Gabe "Godzilla" Ruediger (wearing the blue OTM jersey in the photo above) is back in the UFC after nearly a 4 year absence. After making his UFC debut at UFC 63 in September 2006, Ruediger was infamously remembered for his stint on The Ultimate Fighter 5 – Team Penn vs. Team Pulver, which aired in the spring of 2007. On that show, he was a teammate of Joe Lauzon who also made his UFC debut at UFC 63 before joining the cast of TUF 5.
However, due to some of the in-house antics, Lauzon was very critical of Ruediger online after the show. The bad blood has only left a bad taste in each fighter’s mouths over the years, even with Ruediger fighting outside of the UFC and Lauzon never leaving. Now with Ruediger currently riding a 6-fight win streak with his last loss occuring via decision two years ago, Ruediger recently posted online about his desire to return to the UFC to fight two of his former castmates from TUF 5, either Matt Wiman (who fights Ruediger’s friend and training partner Mac Danzig in a rematch at UFC Fight Night 22 next month) or Lauzon.
As fate would have it, Lauzon who was scheduled to fight British lightweight Terry Etim at the end of this month, became available when Etim had suffered a broken rib in training and was forced to pull out of the bout. After making it clear that he would like to come back to the UFC and fight Lauzon, as recently as last month, Ruediger was the man who was tapped as Etim’s replacement. Ruediger, who received his black belt in BJJ from Romi Aram in April, quickly agreed to take the grudge match on 3 week’s notice. Ruediger is now set to square off with Lauzon in Lauzon’s hometown of Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday, August 28th, one day before his 33rd birthday. The bout will be televised on Spike prior to the PPV broadcast on the undercard of UFC 118 – Edgar vs. Penn 2.