One-time UFC number one middleweight contender and dual Pride FC champion, Dan Henderson, could have some competition when it comes to seeing who gets the next crack at middleweight kingpin, Anderson Silva.
It appeared that "Hollywood" was all lined up to rematch "The Spider" after a thundering right hand turned off Michael Bisping's lights at UFC 100 just last month. It was an epic knockout, which had company president Dana White saying that Henderson had done enough to earn another title shot against the Brazilian.
But in recent days White has backed off that claim, leaving the door open for another Brazilian, undefeated jiu-jitsu phenom, Demain Maia.
White announced at the UFC 102: "Couture vs. Nogueira" pre-fight press conference that the winner of the 185-pound bout between Maia and Nate Marquardt would also be under consideration to challenge for Silva's bout in addition to Henderson.
Marquardt, like Henderson, has already tried, and failed, to pry the 185-pound belt from Silva's tummy. He, like Henderson, has rebounded nicely since that time, winning three of his next four fights. Henderson, on the other hand, has been perfect with three straight victories.
So when White says he wants "wait and see" what happens at UFC 102 before making a final decision, he more than likely is curious to see how Maia -- who has never fought Silva -- performs inside the Octagon. He has torn through five straight opponents since his Octagon debut, earning four "submission of the night" bonuses during that span.
If Maia can once come out and finish a bigger, stronger and very well-rounded fighter like Marquardt, and make it look effortless, it wouldn't be surprising to see White insert Maia over Henderson opposite Silva.
Then again, Silva's manager, Ed Soares, recently suggested that he'd like to see Henderson take on the winner of Maia-Marquardt to create a true number one contender and, in the process, eliminate any and all speculation about who deserves to championship opportunity.
We'll find out soon enough -- Maia and Marquardt are set to collide tomorrow night (Aug. 29) in the televised pay-per-view (PPV) card LIVE from the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. It's safe to say that there is a lot on the line for both fighters.
Dan Henderson, too.