In the build up to this weekend’s UFC 169, UFC President revealed that former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva is expected to return to the octagon in 2014. It is big news, since Silva suffered a horrific leg break last December in his attempt to recover his long held belt from Chris Weidman, there has been widespread talk of his retirement. The obvious opponent is he recently retired welterweight champion Georges St Pierre, since a fight between the two has long been on the UFC’s agenda.
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The match between Silva and GSP is a best case scenario for the UFC and for both men, as it is a marquee matchup that would generate a ton of attention with the full UFC hype machine behind it. But GSP and the UFC are at odds with each other, and unlike what is most likely with Silva, GSP does not need the money or the ego boost of returning unless it is under his conditions. So what if GSP isn’t available.
One potential opponent out there that is also a former UFC champion and has been in the news and training again is former Light-heavyweight titleholder Chuck Liddell.
It may seem far fetched, but Liddell and his trainer were taling a return for the 44 year old former poster boy of the UFC. Though he went out after being KO’d in three consecutive fights, Liddell is still one of the most recognizable fighters of all time.
And Silva has competed at Light Heavyweight before, and it would certainly seem better for a fighter recovering from a serious leg break to perhaps limit some running and things that help keep the weight down.
And though Dana White expressed concern for Liddell’s health in the past, Silva’s diminished status may be enough for the UFC to send Liddell in there. Liddell’s rise as an MMA star came almost 15 years ago in Brazil when he defeated Anderson Silva’s Chute Boxe teammate Jose ‘Pele’ Landi.
IT is certainly a reach, but when it comes to the potential box office returns, anything can happen with the UFC.