The recently-announced UFC 103 main event rematch between Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin could be off following this weeks collapse of Affliction’s MMA promotion and Tito Ortiz possibly returning to the Octagon.
As soon as it was made official, many questioned the headlining matchup between the middleweight contender Henderson and light heavyweight contender Franklin. The fight guaranteed a loss for one of the fighters and forced Henderson to move up to light heavyweight despite being in line for a 185-pound title-shot with his UFC 100 knockout of Michael Bisping.
Though announced, Franklin-Henderson has yet to added to the official fight card for the pay-per-view and rumors are now making the rounds that Dan Henderson vs. Vitor Belfort and Rich Franklin vs. Tito Ortiz could co-headline the September 19 event in Dallas.
Even before Affliction’s decision to shut down its MMA promotion this week to return to the UFC as a sponsor, UFC President Dana White had announced his intention to bring veteran Vitor Belfort back to the UFC, possibly for a fight against middleweight champion Anderson Silva, should he win his August 1 bout against Jorge Santiago. With the fight now canceled and Belfort left without a promotion to call home, a bout against Henderson at UFC 103 could determine the top contender in the middleweight division.
Tito Ortiz’s UFC return has been called a “possibility” by White, and UFC 103 could be the opportunity for “The Huntington Beach Badboy” to make his UFC return. Though Ortiz hasn’t won in three bouts since his last victory in October 2006, he’d still offer a good test for Franklin, who is likely several wins away from a title shot at 205-pounds.
Though far from official, the changes could boost the event’s lineup by offering a bout between legitimate middleweight contenders in Henderson and Belfort as well as a fight pitting two of the most popular fighters in Ortiz and Franklin head-to-head.
[Pictured: Dan Henderson]