Anderson Silva has been cleared to return to fighting and will battle Nick Diaz on Jan. 31, 2015, in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White made the annoucement Tuesday evening on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Silva, the former middleweight champion, broke his leg in two places last December against champion Chris Weidman. Silva threw a left leg kick that Weidman checked with his left knee, and Silva instantly fell to the ground screaming in pain and ending the fight early in the second round

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC's orthopedist, performed the surgery hours after UFC 168 last December. Sanders inserted an intramedullary rod into Silva's tibia and stabilized his broken fibula, the UFC said.

"His head in the right place with that leg," White said on SportsCenter.

Silva, 39, hadn't lost a fight in the UFC, a run of 16 straight fights, until Long Island's Weidman knocked him out at UFC 162 in July 2013 to win the title.

Diaz signed a new contract with the UFC last week after retiring after losing a welterweight title shot against Georges St-Pierre on March 16, 2013. Since then, he had said he's only return for a title shot or a big fight against Silva.