"The Phenom" indicated a date of Feb. 5 via his Twitter account, which puts their 185-pound dance at UFC 127 during Superbowl weekend.
And to think, it almost wasn't meant to be (again).
The Brazilian submitted to chronic shoulder pain earlier this year, opting for surgery instead of a UFC 112 title fight. After "The Spider" danced the night away against Demian Maia in Abu Dhabi, Chael Sonnen stepped in for the recuperating Belfort and nearly crushed Silva before tapping out in the fifth and final frame.
Then the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) came along and levied charges of drug use against Sonnen, effectively benching him for one year (or until his appeal is heard) following his UFC 117 career performance.
Enter Nate Marquardt.
After a "Great" performance against Rousimar Palhares on Sept. 15, Marquardt relieved Belfort of his duties in Germany and will now face "Thunder" for the chance to challenge the winner of the UFC 127 title fight.
It seems the division may finally be working itself out.
The Phenom hasn't competed since a first round destruction of former division champ Rich Franklin back in Sept. 2009. The stoppage — coupled with his two devastating knockout wins under the Affliction banner — were enough to convince White that "The Old Vitor" is back and ready to face his fellow countryman.
It's a tall order, considering Silva hasn't really lost in more than five years (sans a disqualification loss to Okami at Rumble on the Rock 8), and he's essentially obliterated the middleweight division since entering the Zuffa fold in mid 2006.
In fact, he's been so good (pre-Sonnen) that White and Co. started matching him up against 205-pound fighters to give him more of a challenge. He passed with flying colors, sending former champion Forrest Griffin running for the hills and pasting James Irvin with a highlight-reel, fighting-ending combination.
However, Silva has not had a solid (perhaps trademark is a better term) performance in the middleweight division since he submitted Dan Henderson at UFC 82: "Pride of a Champion" back in March 2008. He's had two forgettable -- albeit winning -- fights against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites since that time followed by the travesty against Maia and of course, the clinic by Sonnen.
It's safe to say that the promotion is looking to Belfort to bring the excitement back to the middleweight division ... win, lose or draw.
Can these two make it to Feb. 5 without getting hurt? Keep 'em crossed Maniacs. Early predictions?