(One of MMA’s greatest rivalries is about to get a completely unnecessary epilogue. Photo courtesy of ko.susumug.com.)
Bloody Elbow and The Sun are both reporting that the UFC is currently in negotiations to have dethroned heavyweight champion Randy Couture and former light-heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell face each other for a fourth time in Cologne, Germany, on June 13th. As BE’s Michael Rome writes:
The UFC wants to have Randy on their [first-ever] Germany show because he speaks the language and can do all the promotion. The winner of the fight would face the heavyweight champion in a big fight at the end of the year.
Couture is uninterested in moving down to 205 where Forrest Griffin is champion and Wanderlei Silva is also a contender. Both are close to him and in his camp, and weight cutting takes a toll at his age…
For Liddell, the thought is that…whereas he would have to win a bunch of fights to get back at contention at 205, the heavyweight division is thin enough where he could jump in and be an immediate contender with a win.
It is believed internally that Couture/Liddell will draw better than Silva/Liddell, and they know that a potential Liddell/Lesnar match would probably be the biggest PPV in the history of MMA.
You can’t really argue with the business logic of angling for a Liddell/Lesnar superfight, what with Anderson Silva‘s disappointing PPV numbers. And if Couture vs. Liddell IV goes like the previous two installments in 2005 and 2006 (which Chuck won via knockouts), the UFC will get their wish. But where does this leave the Spider?
Well, it leaves him with a superfight that’s maybe a little less super. Here’s how The Sun hears it:
[UFC] matchmaker Joe Silva is considering offering the Brazilian a fight with the loser of one of the two big light heavyweight clashes taking place at UFC 92 on December 27. That line up sees reigning 205lbs champion Forrest Griffin defend his title against Rashad Evans, while Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson faces Wanderlei Silva for a third time. And we understand middleweight champ Silva is being lined up as an opponent for one of those four men in a light heavyweight bout at [London's] O2 Arena on February 21.
It should be noted that the personal relationship between Anderson and Wanderlei could sink any chance of a fight between them ever happening, which is too bad because I’d cut off one of my girlfriend’s toes to see Silva vs. Silva — preferably, one of the extra ones on her right foot. Still, the other possibilities here are just as compelling. I don’t see the Spider having an easy stroll through any of these guys, and that’s a good thing.
As for Chuck and Randy, it’s a bittersweet situation. It looks like their days of being champions are officially over, so they’ll have to be content with competing in crowd-pleasing and profitable, though ultimately meaningless fights in a weight class that they aren’t really built for. If Couture beats Liddell in their next fight, maybe the UFC can use them to break open the Phillippines market with a best-of-five rubber-rubber match. Still, you have to admit that “Liddell vs. Lesnar” has blockbuster written all over it…