According to a recent report former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell was asked to choose from Keith Jardine, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Kazuhiro Nakamura, and Lyoto Machida. Liddell reportedly opted for Jardine based on his popularity but I’m sure his quick KO loss to Houston Alexander at UFC 71 helped make up his mind. Here are some quick notes about each of the potential opponents:
- Keith Jardine – 12-3-1 MMA record. 2-2 in his last 4 fights with wins over Forrest Griffin and Wilson Gouveia and losses to Houston Alexander and Stephan Bonnar.
- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua – 16-2 MMA record primarily in PRIDE. Has 4 straight wins over Cyrille Diabate, Kevin Randleman, Kazuhiro Nakamura, and Alistair Overeem.
- Kazuhiro Nakamura – 11-6 MMA record winning 3 of his last fight. Lost his last fight in December 2006 to Mauricio Rua.
- Lyoto Machida – 10-0 MMA record with 2 wins in the UFC over David Heath and Sam Hoger.
Of the above list I believe a matchup between Liddell and Machida and Liddell and Rua where the only real main event fights. A main event fight on a pay-per-view between two fighters who are coming off of loses doesn’t hold the allure it did just several months ago when Liddell was the light heavyweight champion and Jardine had won 2 straight fights While I don’t think the match between Liddell and Jardine is a main event caliber match I think the UFC can market it into one and it is still a fight a lot of fans are looking forward to. The fight should be a good brawl and could position either near the top of the light heavyweight division.