When the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Atlantic City on July 16, the main event will feature two of the mixed martial arts organization's top lightweight contenders.
UFC President Dana White announced Thursday night that No. 7 ranked lightweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has verbally agreed to face No. 9 ranked Jim Miller in the five-round main event at Revel Casino-Hotel. Miller is from Whippany, Morris County.
“These two fighters have 15 'Fight Night' bonuses between them, including three 'Fight of the Night' awards each,” White said in a statement. “This is a great fight for the fans in Atlantic City!”
After every UFC card, the organization's executives reward four fighters with a $50,000 "Fight Night" bonus. Two are given to the competitors in what's determined to be the "fight of the night" and two other fighters receive $50,000 based on performance.
This year, UFC says it will award nearly $10 million in "Fight Night" bonuses.
Cerrone (23-6-1) is coming off a first-round submission win over Edson Barboza as part of a fight card in Orlando, Fla., on April 19.
“I told Dana that I’d fight anyone, anytime. I’m excited to fight a guy like Jim because he always brings it," Cerrone said. "I am looking forward to coming to a fight town like Atlantic City and throwing down. I’m ready to get another Fight Night bonus.”
Miller (24-4-1) also recorded a first-round submission in his last fight over Yancy Medeiros as part of last Saturday's card in Baltimore, Md.
“I’m very excited to fight Cowboy Cerrone. He’s a game fighter and I like tough fights. Like me, he likes to put on a good show. This is a tough matchup, but a matchup that was bound to happen," Miller said.
"I’m equally excited to be fighting in Atlantic City. Jersey is where I made a name for myself and to headline a card basically at home is going to be a very special experience for me.”
Tickets will go on sale at noon May 30. Prices are to be determined. The rest of the bouts on the card will be announced at a later date.
UFC last appeared in Atlantic City at Revel on June 22, 2012, with a card headlined by Gray Maynard's split-decision win over Clay Guida before 4,652 fans.
Before that, the UFC hadn't appeared in the resort since UFC 53 at Boardwalk Hall on June 4, 2005.
But the organization has a long history of hosting cards in the resort.
Atlantic City used to be one of the UFC's regular stops. The organization held six cards there from 2000 to 2005, starting with UFC 28 at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort on Nov. 17, 2000. UFC 30 (Feb. 23, 2001) and UFC 31 (May 4, 2001) were also held at the Taj Mahal. Boardwalk Hall was the site for UFC 41 (Feb. 28, 2003), UFC 50 (Oct. 22, 2004) and UFC 53.