What's next for former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell after his knockout loss to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 71 last night?
Perhaps Wanderlei Silva, according to his trainer John Hackleman in a post-fight video interview with Sherdog.com.
Now Hackleman didn't offer up the fight, but rather suggested that it was a "great idea" when asked by the reporter about the possibility.
In addition, UFC President Dana White said Silva would "likely" be his next opponent, according to TSN.ca.
Here's the snip:
"Liddell said after he planned to continue fighting, with UFC president Dana White saying Brazilian Wanderlei Silva would be his likely next opponent."
The "Axe Murderer" and the "Iceman" were tentatively slated to meet sometime last year -- White trotted both out into the center of the Octagon at UFC 61 and made the blockbuster announcement.
However, the fight never happened and Silva went on to get knocked out cold in two of his next three bouts.
In the wake of Silva's loss to Dan Henderson at PRIDE 33: "Final Conflict" UFC President Dana White stated that Pride FC officials "threw away the biggest fight in MMA history."
Fast forward to Sunday, May 27, 2007.
Liddell is coming off of a poor performace at UFC 71 that cost him his coveted 205-pound strap.
Without a doubt, the ESPN The Magazine cover boy and face of the organization will look to get back on top as soon as possible.
Is there a bigger fight out there for him that Silva?
The quick answer is "Yes" and "No."
Mauricio Rua was announced last night that he too will fight in the Octagon. This is a HUGE announcement that has flown under the rader -- "Shogun" is one of the top fighters in the weight class in the world and arguably better competition than Wandi.
However, as Dana White pointed out not too long ago, not too many casual fans "even know who 'Shogun' is."
Therefore, building him up for the fans -- which the UFC tends to favor -- with a few "tune up" fights before throwing him in with the big cats doesn't seem like a stretch.
Besides, the UFC gains very little if Liddell loses back-to-back fights against two guys casual fans know very little about.
Silva, on the other hand, is made to order. Even though he said he was taking off the rest of the year, it wouldn't be surprising if he reconsiders for a shot at Chuck.
It's a fight that has been talked about for years. And now the UFC has the chance to make it happen.
For real this time.