Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (21-5) will likely take on Rashad Evans (11-0-1) during the UFC 88 main event at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, September 6.
MMAmania.com learned about the match up several weeks ago; however, an independent ESPN.com report has today confirmed the possibility, indicating that bout agreements have not been signed despite verbal commitments.
The pair was originally booked to headline the UFC 85: "Bedlam" pay-per-view (PPV) on June 7; however, a hamstring injury forced the "Iceman" off the card. Rather than take a risky fight against a dangerous and unknown opponent such as Luis Arthur Cane on short notice, Evans, too, opted to postpone his appearance at the London show.
Liddell rebounded from back-to-back losses in 2007 to outpoint Wanderlei Silva in a thrilling three-round war at UFC 79: "Nemesis" back in December. He was initially supposed to meet up with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (not Evans) at UFC 85, but an injury to the Brazilian forced him to pull out of the monster showdown.
Most reports indicate that Rua will not be fit until the latter part of 2008, making it difficult for Liddell -- the organization's top draw and its most recognizable fighter -- to sit on the sidelines and wait.
Evans has actually been out of action longer than Liddell -- he hasn't competed since a split decision win over Michael Bisping at UFC 78: "Validation" back in November 2007.
The undefeated heavyweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 2 has won six straight fights inside the Octagon (with a draw against Tito Ortiz in there) and will certainly cement his status as a top contender in the loaded light heavyweight division with a win over Liddell.
It's a huge opportunity.
This recent development means that the rumors that UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva would move up to 205 pounds to challenge Liddell were nothing more than speculation ... at least for now.