Report: UFC wants Anderson Silva for Nov. 12 FOX special
According Tatame.com, the UFC is highly interested in booking Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson on its first FOX show Nov. 12. The UFC middleweight championship would be on the line.
Of course, Silva (30-4 MMA, 13-0 UFC) has to get through the man that last beat him (by disqualification) in Yushin Okami (26-5 MMA, 10-2 UFC) at UFC 134: Rio before that can happen. Silva is the favorite against Okami, but in MMA, anything can happen--except beating Anderson Silva in the UFC thus far.
The possible Silva-Hendo matchup is interesting for a number of reasons. Henderson (28-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a Strikeforce fighter and currently the promotion's LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT champion. Of course, Hendo could vacate the title and re-sign with the UFC (his contract just expired), but the booking is still a bit puzzling. It'd make more sense to hold off booking Silva on FOX and giving Hendo a crack at the winner of Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson.
A UFC vs. Strikeforce light heavyweight champion battle on TV or pay-per-view would probably do solid numbers and it's a weight class Hendo seems comfortable in right now. However, Rashad Evans is waiting for his shot and is clearly next in line.
In their first fight, Silva defeated Hendo at UFC 82 via rear-naked choke in a then-UFC vs. PRIDE middleweight champion bout.
If this fight is a realistic possibility (according to Tatame's report, there have been preliminary negotiations), Dana White and Zuffa really want to turn Silva into a consistent PPV draw, who doesn't need a good personality (Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort) to move the needle.
Statistically, due to some of Silva's past performances (think him dancing around Demian Maia at UFC 112) and the language barrier, he's been the lowest drawing UFC champion (outside of Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo, and Frankie Edgar, whose reigns have been no where near as long).
Being on FOX, along with fighting a guy that always bring it (Hendo), could change all that.
The one-hour, two-fight Nov. 12 FOX special takes place in Anaheim, Calif. While Silva vs. Chael Sonnen would be the money fight, it's best served on PPV. And Sonnen still has licensing issues in the state stemming from his previous suspension over abuse of testosterone replacement therapy.
Let's not forget that if Silva gets the job done at UFC 134, he'll have his hands full with Hendo--should this fight be booked for FOX. Hendo has won three straight fights--two at 205lbs and one at heavyweight over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. At age 40 with a three-fight winning streak, Hendo really has nothing to lose and everything to gain if he faces Silva. if he somehow upsets Silva for the middleweight title, especially in dramatic fashion, the UFC has a new draw. Hell, he'd take Randy Couture's place as the crazy old man that defies age, logic, and everything in between.
Either way, if Silva vs. Hendo takes place, the UFC wins--unless it's a boring fight. Judging by their most recent outings, I don't think we'd have to worry about Silva vs. Hendo being a snoozer.
We'll find out if Okami can play spoiler and score the upset of a lifetime this Sat. night...
Another fight rumored for the televised card (prelims are expected to be streamed on Facebook) is a no. one contender's bout between former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Clay Guida. The winner would face the UFC lightweight champion in their next fight.
More on this story as it develops.