Richard Crunkilton Jr. will make his return to the WEC cage after what will be nearly an 18-month layoff when he meets Dave Jansen at WEC 43 in September.
An official with World Extreme Cagefighting confirmed the lightweight bout to The Times on Wednesday.
Crunkilton (18-2, 8-1 WEC, 0-1 UFC) suffered a knee injury while training for his WEC 39 fight with Bart Palaszewski and had to withdraw from the bout. Injury kept him out of a possible fight with Donald Cerrone at WEC 41, as well. That fight was not announced by the WEC, but Cerrone told Versus.com at WEC 40 in Chicago that the fight had been agreed upon.
Crunkilton trains at the world-renowned American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., alongside some of the best in the business, including UFC stars Jon Fitch, Cain Velasquez, Mike Swick and Josch Koscheck and Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le and lightweight champ Josh Thomson.
Crunkilton's only loss in nine career WEC bouts dating back to 2002 came at the hands of Rob McCullough at WEC 30 when he challenged for the lightweight title. He suffered a first-round TKO stoppage due to strikes. That card is notable for the WEC debut of East Chicago native Miguel Torres, who beat Jeff Bedard with a first-round triangle choke. Crunkilton also has one UFC fight on his resume, a decision loss to Hermes Franca at UFC 42, as well as bouts in several regional promotions.
Jansen (12-0) will be making his WEC debut. News of his signing with the organization was first reported last week by MMA Junkie. Most recently, he went 3-0 as part of the M-1 Challenge Series.
Jansen, an Oregon native, also trains with an elite camp. At Team Quest, he works with fighters including Matt Lindland, Ed Herman, Chael Sonnen and Chris Wilson.
WEC 43 will take place at the Covelli Center in Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 2. The event will be headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Cerrone and Benson Henderson. The WEC's current lightweight belt holder, Jamie Varner, has been unable to fight since breaking his hand against Cerrone at WEC 38 in January.
Also on the card is a preliminary bantamweight bout between Chesterton's Eddie Wineland and Manny Tapia, a fight that was first reported by The Times earlier this month.
WEC 43 will be the promotion's first trip to Ohio and first card in the Midwest since WEC 40 in Chicago on April 5. The UFC, the WEC's fellow Zuffa promotion, has put on several successful events in Ohio, including pay-per-view cards in Columbus each of the last three years. WEC 43's main card will air live on the Versus cable network.