Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (20-4) will headline UFC 76 on September 22 in Anaheim, Calif., against Keith Jardine (12-3-1), according to Yahoo!Sports.com.
UFC President Dana White confirmed the rumored match up in the article and addressed the issue of it being a solid main event.
Here's a snip from White:
"Keith Jardine is a tough guy. He got caught. That can happen. But Chuck got caught too. It is definitely a main event, in my opinion. Jardine beat a lot of good guys, and he absolutely deserves to be fighting Chuck. He wouldn't if Chuck still had the title, but I don't think he needs to win a lot of fights just to get a fight with Chuck."
Last week, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and White had to scramble to find an opponent for the "Iceman" after being unable to come to terms with former PRIDE FC champion Wanderlei Silva on a September showdown.
Had a deal been struck, it would have set up one of the most anticipated bouts in recent years -- it's been talked about and debated for literally years.
Silva later mentioned that he wants to instead fight Liddell in November. And, Liddell has mentioned that he'd like to compete in September and November.
It remains to be seen, however, if the two will meet at that time, especially if Liddell suffers any type of injury before, during or after his clash with the "Dean of Mean."
In the meantime, fans will have to settle for Jardine -- a former contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and a rising contender in the 205-pound division before he met up with Houston Alexander at UFC 71 in May.
Alexander, making his Octagon debut, scored a devastating first round knockout of Jardine. It wasn't the first time Jardine has tasted defeat in the Octagon, however. He lost an unpopular unanimous decision to Stephan Bonnar at UFC Fight Night 4 in April 2006.
Jardine has a solid record in the Octagon (4-2) with wins over Forrest Griffin, Wilson Gouveia, Mike Whitehead and Kerry Schall.
Liddell, on the other hand, has faced and defeated some of best in the sport since his UFC debut back in 1998 -- Randy Couture (twice), Tito Ortiz (twice), Vitor Belfort, Jeremy Horn, Kevin Randleman, Murilo Bustamante, Renato "Babalu" Sobral (twice) ... I can keep going.
But I think you get the point.
Perhaps most impressive, in has last 12 fights -- since 2002 -- Liddell has stopped all of his opponents early via T(KO). The lone exception was his technical knockout loss to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 71 in May -- the same night Jardine was derailed.
Top 205-pound fighter Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will make his long-awaited UFC debut at UFC 76 against undefeated talent Ryoto Machida. And Jon Fitch and Diego Sanchez are penciled in for a welterweight scrap.
It's turning out to be a solid main card. Is the Liddell-Jardine headline worthy? I'll let you decide.