Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is set for a return to the Octagon in the first half of 2021 and is set to take on Paulo Costa on 17th April according to reports.

News of the booking, which will have major title ramifications for the UFC’s 185-pound division, was first reported by Sherdog.

It’s thought that Whittaker and Costa will headline a UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas. However, the bout will not be for an interim title as reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya moves up in weight to vie for the UFC light heavyweight belt against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March.

Whittaker lost his championship to Adesanya at UFC 243 at the tail end of 2019 by a second-round KO, but rebounded in 2020 with a smartly-fought decision victories over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier to get back into the title picture.

Costa is looking to make that run on the comeback trail to title contention after suffering a knockout loss to Adesanya at UFC 253 last September. That loss snapped “Borrachinha”‘s 14-fight win streak.