British MMA star Michael "The Count" Bisping will be top of the bill as the UFC returns to Manchester for the first time in four years on October 26.
Bisping takes on fellow world-ranked middleweight Mark Munoz in the main event, with a packed card of fights set to be confirmed in due course.
The last time the UFC landed on these shores was back in February at Wembley Arena, and UK fans have been itching to get another event ever since.
Persistent rumours had linked Bisping and Munoz with a potential bout in Manchester, and the news UK fans wanted to hear was finally released on Saturday night at the UFC on BT Sport launch event, with a video message from White confirming the news.
It'll be the first time the UFC has returned to Manchester since UFC 105, where Bisping produced one of the best performances of his career to stop Denis Kang back in November 2009.
Michael Bisping: Undefeated in the UK
- UFC 120 (October 18, 2010): Defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama by decision in London
- UFC 105 (November 14, 2009): Defeated Denis Kang by TKO in Manchester
- UFC 89 (October 18, 2008): Defeated Chris Leben by unanimous decision in Birmingham
- UFC 85 (June 7, 2008): Defeated Jason Day by TKO in London
- UFC 75 (September 8, 2007): Defeated Matt Hamill by split decision in London
- UFC 70 (April 21, 2007): Defeated Elvis Sinosic by TKO in Manchester
Bisping said: “First and foremost I’m thrilled to be back in England, it has been three long years since I last fought at home in front of the people who’ve supported me my entire career.
“I’m really up for this challenge against Munoz. I wanted the best possible opponent and I got him. I respect Mark as an opponent and, on a personal level, he’s one of the nicest men you will ever meet, but he’s getting beat. I’m sending the British fans home very happy.”
Munoz said: “I know Bisping has never lost in England - but he’s about to! I truly believe I will silence the crowd in Manchester. I’ve already fought in the UK, when I beat Chris Leben two years ago, so I’m familiar with the jet-lag, the time change, and everything else, so don’t feel I’m at any disadvantage.
“This is a pivotal fight for both of us,” added Munoz. “I see this fight as a contender fight. Anderson Silva is the No.1 contender but after he gets his rematch with Chris Weidman I think the winner of this fight with Bisping is next in line. I respect Bisping’s cardio and kickboxing, but I’m in great shape too and I think I’ll get him with a submission or ground and pound within three rounds.”
This will be the UK’s second event in 2013, following February’s sold-out show at London’s Wembley Arena, and the third time the UFC returns to Manchester, following UFC 70 in April 2007 and UFC 105 in November 2010. Both previous events sold out the world-renowned venue – and featured a victorious Bisping.
Garry Cook, executive vice president and managing director of UFC EMEA, said: “Our intention is to bring the best in MMA back to Manchester, with its passionate and very knowledgeable fans.
“Our British fans have called for more local shows, and we’ve listened to them. UFC Manchester 2013 will be a fantastic event to showcase the growing talent base and we are looking forward to bringing more events to the UK and Europe in 2014."
The full card for the event will be announced shortly. All bouts are live and subject to change.
How to get your tickets
Tickets for UFC Manchester 2013: Bisping vs Munoz will go on sale to the public on 19th August at 10am, and tickets are priced £450 (UFC VIP Experience), £225, £175, £125, £100 and £75. Tickets will be available via Ticketmaster.co.uk and www.phones4uarena.co.uk.
UFC Fight Club members will have an extended exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets to this event from 12th–16th August via the website www.ufcfightclub.com.
A special internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers from 10:00 BST on 16th August.
To register for the UFC newsletter or to join UFC Fight Club go to UFC.com.
Who else do you want to see on the UFC fight card for Manchester? Tweet us using the hashtag #UFConBTS