(Can I get a USA chant?)
With Independence Day upon us and UFC 86 just one day away, what better way to celebrate both occasions than by arguing over every insignificant detail of the weekend to come. That’s what we do best, after all, which may mean only that we do everything else exceptionally poorly.
Don’t forget to check out our UFC 86 Liveblog tomorrow night where you can get in on the heated bickering — and in real time!
Who’s next in line for a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title after Jackson-Griffin?
Fowlkes: As always in the UFC, who’s next depends on who wins. If Jackson wins, which is the more likely outcome, then the UFC is faced with two distinct possibilities, both of them involving rematches.
Chuck Liddell probably only needs to beat Rashad Evans to be back at the top of the list. That’s not necessarily because a win over “Sugar” Rashad is so impressive, but because the UFC knows they could get big money for Jackson-Liddell III.
The same is true regarding Wanderlei Silva. He needs at least one more win and even then it would be just barely credible to put him in a title fight with “Rampage”, but barely credible is more than enough for the UFC.
If Griffin wins, however, all bets are off. Anyone with anything resembling a winning streak is a candidate, except maybe Lyoto Machida. An immediate rematch with Jackson wouldn’t be out of the question, nor would a Griffin-Liddell scenario. Either way, Liddell should be the odds-on favorite to get the next shot, provided he doesn’t get lay-and-prayed to death by Evans.
Goldstein: Dude? Silva destroyed Rampage twice in PRIDE, which makes him a whole lot more than “barely credible,” no matter what he’s accomplished in the UFC so far. Sure, Wandy would probably need another win just to keep up appearances, but Jackson vs. Silva is the match that needs to happen for Rampage’s title reign to have true legitimacy. And if the UFC felt like playing up their history, they could surely convince the casual Chuck-hugging fans that Silva deserves it more.