What's next for Liddell?
The obvious question right now is what is next for Chuck Liddell? Here are a few potential matchups which make sense for both fighters involved.
Chuck vs Spider Silva - This fight makes sense because Spider Silva wants nothing but super fights and this fits that bill. This fight is an easy sell and would be a tremendous draw. As for Chuck, he is 1-3 in his past four fights and his back is against the wall. He shouldn't be given a walk in the park fight, and a matchup against the UFC's top P4P fighter would be an easy one for Chuck to get motivated for. Plus Spider doesn't come from Greg Jackson's camp, which Chuck must avoid at all costs. I see Spider winning this fight though and Chuck may very well retire after another loss.
Chuck vs Shogun - Both fighters coming off a loss, and this was supposed to go down in June. I'm sure both fighters still want this fight, and the fans do too. The outcome of tonight's fight has no bearing on Chuck vs Shogun, if anything it makes even more sense now.
Chuck vs Jardine - Both fighters coming off a devastating KO loss, and a chance for the poster boy to avenge one. Also a chance for Jardine to prove that his first win over Chuck one year ago wasn't a fluke. I wouldn't advise this fight though for either fighter, there are more options that make more sense than this one.
Chuck vs Wandy 2 - Everyone wants to see the rematch, a win for Chuck would be a step in the right direction. But a win for Wandy would put him in line for a title shot. Maybe that is unfair to other guys in the division, but the bottom line is this is a business and Wand could be an even bigger draw fighting for a title.
Chuck vs Rich Franklin - This is a money making fight, btween two guys who are far away from title shots no matter which division they compete in. Both guys need to keep winning, but if Chuck losses this one he may be done for good.
Enough about Chuck, lets talk about the man with the most recent upset of the hour. Rashad will still have doubters because that is the nature of the sport. But no doubt his most recent victory puts him among the top in the division. Here are a few possibilities;
Rashad vs Forrest - What better way to capitalize on the upset win than give him the title shot? Chuck was assumed to get it if he won, but he didn't. Remember how Griffin got his shot? He beat a guy who no-one expected him to beat. Rashad just did the same thing, so I say this fight makes the most sense right now.
Rashad vs Lyoto - Rashad took minimal to zero damage vs Chuck, which is a pretty amazing feat in itself. UFC is scrambling to pair someone up with Lyoto now that Thiago has withdrew due to injury. My only gripe about this fight is that is has the potential to be a very boring fight (and that would be the fault of both fighters, not just Lyoto). The winner of this fight would absolutely have to get a title shot though, no questions asked.
Rashad vs Thiago Silva - If Rashad can't get himself ready in time to fight Lyoto, maybe he waits for T. Silva to heal up and step in with him. This fight could be much more exciting that Rashad vs Lyoto, and again the winner here should probably get a title shot no questions asked. If Thiago were to beat the guy who just flatlined Chuck, his stock goes through the roof. If Rashad beats another undefeated fighter, then it further cements himself among the 205 elite.
One guy who had a lot of interest in the outcome of tonight's main event, Forrest Griffin. Rashad just stirred up the 205 division just like Griffin did one year ago. Now what could be next for Griffin? Above I mentioned Griffin vs Forrest, but there are other options on the table for him.
Griffin vs Rampage 2 - Now that Chuck is out of the title picture for awhile, this opens the door for Rampage to step up and get an immediate rematch that many feel he deserved. The UFC doesn't have a clear number one contender at 205 right now and they aren't going to get one within the next few months. Reminder, Lyoto has no opponent, Thiago is injured, Chuck lost, who else is there?
Griffin vs Wanderlei Silva - This is a bit of a stretch considering that Wandy is 1-1 in his past two fights. It is even more of a stretch because they both train at Randy's gym. But if Wand were offered a title shot, I think he would go back to Chute Boxe for a few months and prepare for Griffin. If Wandy were to accept, I'm sure Griffin would too. Griffin doesn't strike me as the guy who hand picks his opponents.
Griffin vs Lyoto - This is a stretch because it doesn't make sense to award a title shot to someone because his opponent pulled out due to injury. And if there was one guy that Griffin would say no to fighting, it would be Lyoto. Griffin has already said that this fight would be boring as hell.
I am struggling to come up with other fights that make sense for Griffin so it is obvious to me at least that Rashad should fight for the title in Dec or Jan.
Who should Hendo fight next? I think Marquardt vs Hendo would be a fantastic high energy fight. The winner of that one may deserve another crack at the Spider.
"I don't want them to like me, because when I'm in the ring, punches fly to the face. It is not a tenderness time. I am not falling in love. And he knows that when the fight starts I kick faces."
"I think you should be able to kick in the head, it’s a fun thing to do."