George Roop will make a fast turnaround after his first bantamweight victory, and he'll do it against a former champion.
Roop (13-9-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) will stay at 135 pounds and meet Brian Bowles (10-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at the UFC's Memorial Day weekend card, UFC 160, in Las Vegas. Sources with knowledge of the fight on Thursday confirmed the booking to MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
UFC 160 takes place May 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and features a heavyweight title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
Although the UFC has not made a formal announcement of the fight, Bowles vs. Roop likely will be part of the preliminary card.
Bowles makes a long-awaited return to the octagon after being out of action since a November 2011 loss to Urijah Faber at UFC 139. In that fight, he was stooped by a Faber guillotine choke in the second round for just the second loss of his career. The former WEC standout upset Miguel Torres in August 2009 to win that promotion's bantamweight title, but in his first defense, he lost it to current sidelined champ Dominick Cruz when he couldn't continue after two rounds due to a broken hand.
That injury kept him out for a year, but he returned in impressive fashion with a "Submission of the Night" first-round win over Damacio Page in his UFC debut and followed that up with a win over Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 132 before the loss to Faber.
After a 1-3 stretch at featherweight in his second stint in the UFC, Roop dropped down to bantamweight for the second time in his career and picked up a unanimous decision win over Reuben Duran just 10 days ago at UFC 158 in Montreal. That win snapped a two-fight skid that saw him stopped by Cub Swanson and on the wrong end of a controversial split decision to Hatsu Hioki. Roop, a former "TUF" contestant at lightweight and longtime featherweight, had only competed once at bantamweight before UFC 158 – a loss to Eddie Wineland at WEC 46 more than three years ago.
The latest UFC 160 card now includes:
Champ Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva - for heavyweight title
Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
James Te Huna vs. Glover Teixeira
T.J. Grant vs. Gray Maynard
Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons
Gunnar Nelson vs. Mike Pyle
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo
Amir Sadollah vs. Stephen Thompson
Colton Smith vs. Robert Whittaker
Estevan Payan vs. Jeremy Stephens
Brian Bowles vs. George Roop
Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway