When Chuck Liddell hooks up with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua during the main event at UFC 85 on June 14, "The Iceman" will more than likely have to do it outside the cozy confines of Las Vegas, Nevada.
In fact, the match up is penciled in for the O2 Arena in London, England -- something that doesn't sit too well with his long-time trainer, John Hackleman, according to FightNetwork.com.
Here's a snip from "The Pit" boss:
"I'd just rather keep the training local. We just don't like to travel, and we want to keep our camp local. It's easier for all of us. It doesn't make quite as much sense [to travel] on our side.... [However], Chuck will knock someone out anywhere."
Regardless of the location, Liddell is up against another tough test from the now defunct Pride FC organization (Liddell just beat Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79). Shogun -- the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix winner -- is still considered among the top 205-pound fighters in the world.
In fact, prior to his upset loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76: "Knockout" in September 2007, Rua had defeated a "Who's-Who" of some of the best names in the sport such as Rampage Jackson, Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and others.
Not to mention the former ChuteBoxe prodigy will be out for redemption for his disappointing performance against Griffin, as well as for his former training partner, "The Axe Murderer."
Liddell is no slouch, either, of course, and will look to put back-to-back wins together en route to an opportunity to reclaim his light heavyweight belt. With a win, he will more than likely face the winner of Rampage and Forrest Griffin sometime in late 2008 for the 205-pound crown.
UFC President Dana White has put Liddell in a great spot to go down as one of the best ever if he can pull it off. However, it will be the hardest stretch of his long and storied career (Silva, Rua and Jackson/Griffin.)
First things first and that's Rua. It's a fight that Liddell looks forward to regardless of the venue.
Here's a snip:
"I think it's going to be a great fight. I think he's going to strike, he's going to wrestle a little bit and he's going to mix it up. It should be fun, and it should make for an interesting fight."
Talk about an understatement.
Note: Brock Lesnar and Brandon Vera are also rumored to be competing on this card although there is no indication that the two heavyweights will fight one another.