The former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin (28-6) will now look to make his return to the middleweight division against the former Strikeforce middleweight champ Cung Le (7-2) at UFC 148 according to UFC execs. Both men have verbally agreed to the fight on July 7th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

Franklin will not only be readjusting to his original division, but also returning from a 16-month layoff due to required shoulder surgery. It was Feb. 2011 the last time Franklin had stepped in the octagon, suffering a loss to former light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin at UFC 126. Prior to the bout, Franklin was flying high with an impressive first-round KO that ended UFC legend Chuck Liddell’s career at UFC 115.

Le, a native to the Strikeforce promotions headquarters in San Jose, CA is a fan favorite with his dominating finishes on the path to becoming a Strikeforce champion. Hollywood would sideline the flashy kickboxer however, giving Le small windows of opportunity to train and  fight periodically throughout the last four years of his career. Le will be looking to rebound from a TKO loss in his UFC debut against Wanderlei Silva in Nov. of 2011 at UFC 139.