We now know what the UFC was planning on doing with the Anderson Silva/Dan Henderson/Nate Marquardt middleweight title triangle.
There was also UFC 105 in Manchester and a third unannounced show.
There were two main events in play for those dates: Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson for the middleweight title and B.J. Penn vs. Diego Sanchez for the lightweight title.
When Jackson-Evans was in danger for Dec. 12 in Memphis, Tenn., Penn-Sanchez was moved to that date. Then Silva, who had complained about facing Henderson again (Silva won via choke in March 2008), told company officials he would be undergoing surgery.
With Silva out of the picture, UFC 105 is still without a solid main event. At the moment, Bisping-Kang is at the top of the card, but that’s pretty weak, even for a UK Spike show. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is believed to be making his UFC debut on the card, so they could always slide his fight into the co-main event slot. The ideal fight to put there though would be Henderson-Marquardt to decide who’s the true number one contender in the middleweight division. Problem with that is Hendo doesn’t want that fight, so if the UFC can’t convince him, assuming they’re thinking along the same lines as me, it might be time to get a little creative.
How about this? Minotauro Nogueira wants a rematch with Frank Mir. How about giving it to him at UFC 107? It would definitely help fill in the gap the Rampage-Rashad postponement left. Then move Cheick Kongo to UFC 105, and assuming Mirko “Cro Cop” at least looks decent against Junior dos Santos (win or lose) and doesn’t suffer any injuries, book their rematch in the co-main event. Cro Cop said he wanted to fight multiple times before the year is out and the UFC needs star power for an overseas card. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. That fight along with Bisping-Kang and Nogueira-TBD (maybe Luiz Cane) and Hardy-Kim would make for a pretty solid Spike card.
Meltzer also mentioned there’s still a mystery event lurking with a full card tentatively in place, but the UFC still hasn’t decided if they’re moving forward with it or not. He didn’t say if this card was dependent upon the UFC signing a new television deal as rumored.
Update: The Sun is floating a few rumors about possible main events for UFC 105.
ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA is in line to make his Octagon debut against Dan Henderson at UFC 105, SunSport understands.
However, should Nogueira or Henderson turn the fight down, we understand welterweight legend Matt Hughes is being considered as an alternative big name to appear at the MEN Arena on November 14.
It is rumoured Hughes — who recently signed a new four-fight deal — could be handed a shot against highly-rated Mike Swick.
Update 2: So Anderson Silva may be available in November after all. From Kevin Iole:
I spoke to Ed Soares, Silva’s manager, and contrary to published reports, Silva has not had surgery on his elbow and is not in any way incapable of fighting in November if he’s offered a fight.
This is rather odd. We have one of the major writers at Yahoo saying Anderson told the UFC he is out for the rest of the year and the other saying the exact opposite. Wonder what happened there…
That doesn’t mean Silva-Hendo will necessarily headline UFC 105 or even happen though. According to Josh Gross, Dan Henderson is technically a free agent and negotiations are moving “slow.” From Gross’ twitter feed (I recommend following him):
Shootin down a rumor. Dan Henderson won’t fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his next fight. In fact, his next fight might not be in the UFC.
According to a source close to Hendo, Dan is a free agent. The source said Dan wants to remain in the UFC. It makes the most sense.
But as of right now he doesn’t have a contract with Zuffa. Negotiations were characterized as “slow.” Dan’s main focus is fighting A. Silva.
I think something gets done. Maybe not right away, but Hendo needs the UFC because Silva’s there. Plus, it’s the only place to make PPV $$$.
Re: Nate, Dan feels he was privately and publicly promised the next shot at Silva.
He’d entertain a fight @ 205 if it had title implications. Source also said Dan would fight Silva @ 205 if The Spider preferred.
I really can’t imagine Hendo going anywhere else either. It really seems like Silva just doesn’t want to fight him, and probably doesn’t want a shitty pay-per-view bonus from an overseas card.
Whatever happens there, it sounds like the UFC has plenty of other options for the UFC 105 main event. UFC UK president Marshall Zelaznik told Fighters Only they are looking at “four to six” different fighters and they’re all “substantial names.”
Instead, the main event is going to be drawn from a pool of “four to six” fighters, depending what match-ups can be made between which names. Whoever the final two are, Zelaznik says the UFC top brass want UK fans to know the main event will be one to talk about.
“I’ve had email and text exchanges with Lorenzo [Fertitta, UFC co-owner] over the past couple of days and he said ‘Make sure everyone knows that there is a main event going to be announced soon’,” he says.
“And the names are going to be substantial, I kind of know the names that are floating around and once it comes together, everyone will know about it. Its going to be two fighters that everyone wants to see.”
Well as long as it’s not Swick-Hughes. That would be weak.