British UFC fighter Jai Herbert will return to the cage after almost a year out to face the experienced Renatio Moicano at UFC Vegas 30 next month.
The fight will take place on June 26, Mirror Fighting can reveal, on the undercard of Cyril Gane v Alexander Volkov’s heavyweight showdown, which could have huge title implications for the winner.
Herbert has been out of the cage for most of the last year after suffering only his second career defeat to Fracisco Trinaldo in his first fight for the UFC.
The Birmingham-based fighter had previously been on a tear in Cage Warriors, winning the lightweight title and beating the likes of Joe McColgan and Jack Grant on a six-fight tear that saw him find his way to the top promotion in MMA.
Moicano will undoubtedly be his toughest opponent to date, having faced the likes of Jose Aldo, Rafael Fiziev and current top featherweight contender Brian Ortega in recent years.
The Brazilian fighter, who trains with American Top Team, has wins over veterans like Jeremy Stephens, Cub Swanson and Calvin Kattar in his past life as a featherweight.
He moved up to lightweight in 2020 and is 1-1 since after facing Fiziev and Damir Hadzovic and will be a minor favourite against the Brit when they face off next month.
Speaking ahead of his UFC debut last year, Herbert admitted he feared the call would never come.
“I fought in October and I was thinking, ‘What’s going on? Bloody hell, I’m gonna still be working every day for ages, for the rest of my life now with the scaffolding’,” he said.
“I got the call and it was a relief,” said Herbert, who quit his scaffolding gig a week after signing his UFC deal.
“I’ve always got my qualifications if I need to go back to it, but a week after, I quit the job and said I’m going to fully focus on my MMA career,” he said. “Obviously, I’m fighting in the UFC and these guys are top level. I want to be a top-level world-class athlete myself, so I have to focus full-time on that now. Exciting times.”