It certainly has been a long time coming, but former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Andre Arlovski has found a new home.
Thursday, after months of heated speculation, Affliction finally confirmed what many fans already expected -- Arlovski had signed up with the upstart promotion for its inaugural card "Banned" on July 19 in Anaheim, Calif.
The "TBA" facing Ben Rothwell is now a "Pitbull." It's bittersweet news for the former champ.
"I am excited," Arlovski told MMAWeekly.com. "Also, I have mixed feelings -- sad about leaving UFC and excited about my future."
Arlovski and his management are mum about the details of the negotiation that led him to leave the UFC, but its clear that the industry-leading promotion could not offer Arlovski the dollar sign he required.
"My management and I did what we had to do to work out a new deal with the UFC," he said. "But we also had to test the market. At the end of the day it's a business."
If he had his choice though, Arlovski would have stayed with the company that made him a star.
"It is always my choice," he continued. "I just had to evaluate everything on the plate, listen to the opinions of my advisors and make the decision. At this time I felt that based on everything this decision would be better for me. There are a lot of things that go into consideration."
Arlovski maintains that his relationship with his former employers remains strong, and that the possibility of a return to the Octagon is not out of the question.
"In the last few month both Dana and Lorenzo showed me a lot of respect on the personal level and I got to know them better on the personal level," he said. "They told me that they respect my decision and wished me success. I am very grateful to them for what they did for the sport, for the UFC and for me personally over the years. Everybody indicated that the doors are open."
Details on the length of Arlovski's contract were not forthcoming, due to confidentiality agreements signed by his management, although reports put the deal at three fights.
The focus will now shift to Rothwell, a heavyweight with a penchant for knocking opponents into next Tuesday.
"He is strong and very technical," Arlovski said. "He has very good stand-up. It's going to be a difficult fight for both of us."
Affliction made a formal announcement of the signing Tuesday, along with a partnership with famed entrepreneur Donald Trump, at a press conference in New York. With an already deep heavyweight division, there is no shortage of future opponents for "The Pitbull."
"Currently (Affliction has) some of the best heavyweights in the world," he said. "I am looking forward to testing my skills there."