This fight announcement was lost in the shuffle over the last couple of days, but it still holds some importance as far as UFC job security. Former lightweight Jeremy Stephens is dropping to featherweight, and he'll debut against Strikeforce's Estevan Payan at UFC 160 on May 25th.
Stephens (20-9 MMA, 7-8 UFC) has lost his last 3, although 2 of those defeats came against top 10 lightweights Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. His KO loss to Yves Edwards at UFC on Fox 5 in Seattle marked the first time Lil' Heathen had ever been stopped with strikes.
Payan (14-3, 1 NC) went 2-0 in Strikeforce, including a TKO of Mike Bravo in the promotion's final event this past January. He took part in Bellator's first ever season in the featherweight tournament, but was on the wrong end of a tremendous spinning backfist vs. Yahir Reyes in the semifinals.
The interesting thing here is that Stephens is scheduled for a court hearing on March 17th, and then a jury trial on April 8th. Chris Hall best summarized the situation at the beginning of the year:
First, a quick recap of the Jeremy Stephens situation. The UFC Lightweight was arrested back in October just before his scheduled bout with Yves Edwards at UFC On FX 5. Minneapolis authorities picked him up on a year-old warrant from Polk County, IA, his home state. The warrant stemmed from a 2011 incident and Stephens was charged with two felonies - willful injury causing serious injury (class C), burglary in the first degree (class B) - and a serious misdemeanor in assault causing bodily injury.
As stated earlier, UFC 160 is on May 25th, so by no means is this fight a guarantee considering Stephens has much more important legal matters to attend to over the next month.