Former UFC middleweight No. 1 contender Patrick Cote will return to the UFC at UFC 148 to face Cung Le, reported late Wednesday night.

Cote (17-7) takes the place of Rich Franklin. “Ace” stepped in for Vitor Belfort to face Wanderlei Silva in the main event of UFC 147.

UFC 148 takes place July 7 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Cote was released from the UFC after losses to Anderson Silva, Alan Belcher and Tom Lawlor. The defeat vs. Silva came after he blew out his knee in the third round and was unable to continue.

Following his release, Cote won four consecutive fights, including two that ended in the first round.

Le (7-2) dropped his UFC debut to Wanderlei Silva last year. He is a former Strikeforce champion.

Photo credit: