Matt Hamill is coming out of retirement.
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the 35-year-old will be fighting on the UFC 152 card slated for Sept. 22 in Toronto, against Bellator veteran Roger Hollett.
"The Hammer" Returns
Hamill's return comes at the perfect time, as the 205-pound division is sorely missing legit competition for Jon "Bones" Jones' belt. Jones literally steamrolled over just about every man in his path, and the only loss on his resume came at the hands of Hamill.
While Jones' loss to Hamill was just the result of illegal 12-to-6 elbow strikes, it's still one that the current champ would love to wipe off his resume. Any time a champ can avenge a loss, it's a good thing for the sport and a positive for the athlete.
Most of the UFC's top ten light heavyweights have squared off not only with the champ, but also against each other.
Adding Hamill back to the light heavyweight ranks, creates some fresh fight opportunities for the likes of Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, or perhaps one of the losing fighters on the "UFC on Fox 4" card.
Pretender or Contender?
Hamill, who holds a 10-4 overall record, announced his retirement last year after slogging through injuries in training camps for his UFC 130 fight against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and his UFC 133 tilt against Alexander Gustafsson.
Now in his mid-30s, no one knows what to expect from "The Hammer." He may still be the dominating force that smashed Tim Boetsch in 2008, or the freight train presence that knocked out Mark Munoz with a head kick in 2009. Of course, there's always the chance he may be just a gatekeeper at this point in his career.
A victory over Hollett will serve as a nice indication of where he is at this point in his career. Hollett, a native of Canada, will definitely have the crowd on his side when he enters the cage against Hamill in Toronto, and he'll be gunning for his 14th MMA victory.
Hollett earns most of his victories by submissions, and armbar defense may be one of Hamill's weaknesses. Hamill is an elite wrestler and suberb striker, but no one has tested his ground game like Hollett will.
Hamill vs Hollett
Hollett is a winner of five straight. However, not many names stand out on his resume, and he hasn't stepped up against elite competition.
Unofficially, this may be Hamill's first test as a "gatekeeper," since he's essentially testing an up-and-coming prospect to see if he is up to par against UFC-level competition in his league debut.
Whether Hamill ever fully returns to the form that made him a star in 2007, it's nice to see one of the "good guys" in the sport coming back. Hamill, who was born deaf, has one of the most inspiring life stories in MMA, and it was even made into a 2010 bio film, The Hammer.
Will Matt Hamill return to form as a contender in the light heavyweight division, or will be fall into "gatekeeper" status? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of MMA. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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