The UFC is set to return to Australia for the first time since prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic when it hosts UFC 284 in Perth.
News of the move was first reported by Perth Now on Friday. An announcement officially unveiling the plan is expected Tuesday, with Tourism Minister Roger Cook on hand, along with UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, at the RAC Arena.
That venue will play host to the PPV card, which will take place on February 11, 2023 (Feb. 12 locally). It’s the second straight international PPV card for the UFC in 2023, with January’s UFC 283 taking place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
During UFC Paris last month, UFC Senior Vice President of International and Content, David Shaw, told Cageside Press that the promotion was looking to resume its normal international schedule next year.
“I think the plan for 2023 is to try to get back to pre-COVID levels in terms of the number of international events we’re having. So we’ll get back to Abu Dhabi, obviously we’re going to be there in a couple of months [for UFC 280]. But we’ll be there in ’23, London, France, we need to get back to Scandinavia, we’ve been talking about going to Germany, even Spain. There’s a number of different countries we want to get to.”
While Australia was not mentioned specifically, Shaw later mentioned Canada and Brazil. Along with those nations, Australia has been an annual destination for the promotion. The organization last set foot in the country in 2019 with a show in Melbourne, and have not touched down in Perth since 2018, when UFC 221 took place that February.
No fights have been announced for the UFC 284 card, but Volkanovski is likely to take part. The 145lb champ defended his belt for the fourth time earlier this year, when he won a third fight against Max “Blessed” Holloway. Volkanovski is undefeated in his UFC career, which began back in 2016.
Names like Robert Whittaker, Tai Tuivasa, and other local talents may also be available for the card, with neither of the aforementioned fighters currently having bouts booked. New Zealand’s Israel Adesanya, meanwhile, fights in November at UFC 281, making him something of a long shot.