Thales Leites returns to the UFC, targeting fight at UFC 163 in Brazil

Josh Hedges, Zuffa LLC via Getty images

Former middleweight title challenger Thales Leites is returning to the UFC after a four year absence from the organization.

It's been nearly four years since middleweight Thales Leites last fought in the UFC. The one time title challenger is now back in the organization according to Globo. Earlier this week the UFC just about confirmed that they have re-signed Leites by putting his profile back on their middleweight roster database.

The 31-year-old Brazilian and Nova Uniao fighter dropped his debut to Martin Kampmann, but a 5 fight win streak earned him a title shot against Anderson Silva at UFC 97 in Montreal. Leites lost by decision in a dreadful fight. Thales' role in the mess of a main event dumped him to the prelims of UFC 101, where he controversially lost by split decision to former pro baxer boxer and UFC veteran Alessio Sakara. Thales was released from his contract soon thereafter.

Leites (20-4) has won 6 of his last 7 post-UFC fights against the likes of Dean Lister, Jesse Taylor, Tor Troeng, and Matt Horwich. His submission win over Horwich avenged a 2010 submission loss to him. Injuries prevented Leites from fighting in 2012, but the BJJ black belt is healthy and is aiming for a return to the octagon this August at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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