Speculation is rife at the moment as to who will headline the UFC’s historic first event on FOX in November, and according to UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta it appears that they are targeting the very top of the MMA food chain.
A rumor from TATAME yesterday suggested that a fight between the world’s pound-for-pound best fighter and current UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Dan Henderson was in the works, and later in the day Fertitta confirmed with the site that it is on their radar depending on this weekends results.
“We don’t have a main event set yet, we’ll find out probably after this Saturday, these fights in Rio, then we’ll set a main event. But it’ll be something big. It’ll be a big fight,” fertitta stated.
When asked specifically if Silva Vs Henderson was the fight they wanted to make Fertitta had the following to say.
“I would love to do that. Anderson just needs a win.”
Of course he is referring to Silva’s title defense on Saturday night against Yushin Okami at UFC 134 in Brazil, a fight that he is expected to win. Anything can happen in this sport however, so it’s going to be a tense evening for everyone concerned.
It makes sense to showcase Silva on the FOX show however given that he’s considered the sports greatest fighter and is capable of producing remarkable fight finishes such as his matrix-like KO of Forrest Griffin in ’09, last-gasp submission win over Chael Sonnen last year or his spectacular front kick KO of Vitor Belfort just a few months ago.
On the other hand Silva dance to the beat of his own drum and despite his wealth of talent at times he has failed to deliver, producing some of the dullest, least entertaining title fights in recent memory against the likes of Thales Leites, Damien Maia and Patrick Cote.
The other side of the equation is far from a foregone conclusion either – Henderson is currently a free agent after completing the final fight of his Strikeforce contract with a huge TKO win over Fedor Emelianenko last month.
He has indicated he’d be interested in a return to the UFC despite being the current Strikeforce 205lb champ, but the reason he left the UFC in the first place back in 2009 was due to the promotion’s refusal to meet his pay demands so it’s by no means a sure thing.
Things are different this time around though. Zuffa now own Strikeforce as well so Henderson doesn’t have many other options to turn to, and the lure of fighting on the ‘UFC On FOX’ show which will be aired live to millions on the network on primetime may be hard to resist.
Henderson is also being offered the fight that the UFC were reluctant to give him back in ’09 – a rematch with Silva who he had lost to by a second round rear-naked choke back at UFC 82 a year prior to that.
If they can get ‘Hendo’ on-board then he is the right man for the job – his straight-ahead, all-action style is exactly what Silva thrives upon, and should ensure an entertaining fight for the millions watching on FOX.
Couple it with a rumored lightweight scrap between Ben Henderson and Clay Guida and you’ve got a recipe for success.