UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (18-4) and the seven-time King of Pancrase, Nathan Marquardt (25-6-2), will fight for the UFC 185-pound title on July 7, according to MMAWeekly.com.
The news was first reported by UFCJunkie.com yesterday.
Apologies for not passing the news along sooner -- I've been waiting to hear back from Marquardt for the last day or so to congratulate him, as well as hopefully add a little something from him here on the announcement.
He hasn't returned my call yet -- so the show must go on.
Silva is coming off of a second round submission victory over Travis Lutter (9-4) at UFC 67. It was supposed to be his first title defense, but Lutter failed to make weight and it was relegated to a three-round nontitle fight.
"The Spider" is 3-0 in the Octagon since his debut and will look to keep his perfect record intact against one of the top 185-pound fighters in the world that no one knows about.
And, that's not such a good thing for the UFC.
Marquardt recently defeated Dean Lister (9-5) at UFC Fight Night 8 on January 25. He also boasts a flawless record inside the Octagon (4-0), but only one of those fights -- Ivan Salaverry -- has hit the airwaves.
Now, the UFC faces the uphill task of marketing and selling this fight to millions of fans who are only now beginning to understand the dominance of Silva, and who may not know the first thing about Marquardt.
Make no mistake, Marquardt deserves this fight.
He's just going to have to prove to everyone leading up to the match that he belongs there -- something the UFC should have done long before.
For a little more background on Marquardt check out this recent interview.