Source: Dan Hardy-Duane Ludwig set

Updated: February 22, 2012, 3:35 PM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

Former UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy will return to action on May 26 against Duane Ludwig, officials with the promotion confirmed Wednesday.

Both fighters have verbally agreed to the bout, scheduled for UFC 146 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The card is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between champion Junior dos Santos and top contender Alistair Overeem.

UFC has not yet officially announced dos Santos-Overeem, though promotion co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta recently said that negotiations for that matchup have begun.

Hardy, who has lost four fights in a row, will step into the Octagon for the first time since Aug. 14, when Chris Lytle forced a submission in the first round. For his career, Hardy is 23-10 with one no-contest.

Ludwig (21-12) will attempt to rebound from a first-round submission loss to Josh Neer on Jan. 20. He is 2-3 since returning to UFC in January 2010.

Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil.