The UFC’s latest addition to its middleweight division is no stranger to the world’s most famous octagon. After almost four years, former title contender Thales Leites is back to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as reported by Sportv.com.
According to Leites, the contract has already been signed, but the first bout of his return to the organization is yet to be determined. As the Nova Uniao product told Sportv.com, “I signed the deal about a week and half ago, and the forecast to my next fight is whenever they call me. I’d like to be on the UFC 163 card in which my training parter, Jose Aldo, will be doing the main event. To come back to the UFC in Rio de Janeiro, that would be a dream come true.”
The 31-year-old Leites has 24 professional bouts, with 20 wins (13 by submission) and four losses. After collecting nine victories in a row to start off his career, the grappling specialist signed his first deal with the UFC in 2006, debuting with a loss to Martin Kampmann on the TUF 4 Finale. The Brazilian bounced back with a five-fight win streak which earned him a title shot against fellow countryman Anderson Silva on UFC 97. However, after a lopsided loss to the “Spider”, followed by another defeat through the hands of Alessio Sakara, Leites was let go by the organization in 2009.
Leites’ post-UFC career consisted in seven fights, with six victories. His lone defeat happened on August of 2010, when he was submitted by Matt Horwich via rear-naked choke. After that, Leites put together three victories in a row, over former TUF 17 member Tor Troeng, longtime MMA veteran Jeremy Horn and then avenging his previous loss, by submitting Horwich via arm-triangle choke on March 31th, 2012. He did that with a torn ACL in his right knee, which forced him to be put on the shelf until now.
“I think I earned it, and I’m back to the place I should never have left”, Leites stated to Sportv.com, “God knows his ways. Now I come back older, more confident and more mature.”
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