Any chance of getting a Pride Fighting icon? Every time the UFC is brought up, we inevitably talk about Pride as well -- it'd be nice to have seperate posts with separate icons.
On that note:
Chill brought up Wanderlei Silva's possible next opponent in the UFC 66 thread. It's an interesting question for anybody into MMA, as the event is in the states and involves one of the most popular international fighters around in Silva.
As for who he'll fight?
Chuck Liddell! Er, no. Ah well. Though it's possible we'll see it in late 2007 as a cross promotion.
I'm hoping it will be 12-2 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (aka Lil' Nog), who's fought and beaten a ton of tough competition without any title shot in sight. He's a rough matchup for Wanderlei and would make for a great fight.
Mauricio Rua won't happen because he and Wanderlei are training partners in Chute Box, but a guy can dream. Rua beat above mentioned Lil' Nog in mid 2005, the only loss on Nog's record since 2002 (against a natural heavyweight at the top of his game in Vlad Matyushenko).
More likely, from what I've heard, is Dan Henderson, a guy American fight fans will be more familiar with. Problem with him is that he's a natural 185er (of average size at that weight). For him to blow up to 205 would be just plain odd, and I can't help but feel he'd be out of his depth.
A long shot would be a rubber match with Ricardo Arona, but that's not something I'm itching to see.
Other than that, Pride has been guilty of terrible mismatches for their top stars... so Wanderlei fighting a washed up big name wouldn't suprise me in the least. A Gracie, perhaps, or someone equally overmatched.
Looks like I'm not the only one who foresees the opponent being a big name who's no longer at the top of his game - sorta like how we saw Coleman versus Fedor in October.
I'm not biting on the Henderson rumors. The very notion is so ill-conceived, that if they were to EVER go through with this at 205, I'd have serious questions about the sobriety of the match-makers in Pride.
Champion versus Champion is great, and all. But not when you risk having Henderson look out of his league, since he's one of your top guys. I'd sooner choose to see Wandy go up in weight and face Fedor. And even then, that would only be after I'd exhausted every other possibility. The only time these types of fights should happen on US soil is a year or two down the road, after Pride has built itself a steady and loyal fanbase in the US. That way, a fight like one of these would REALLY count in the eyes of the fans, who at this point I don't honestly feel would appreciate it. The loyal MMA fans would, but most MMA fans right now got into it because of the Ultimate Fighter show on Spike.
As of today, I'm thinking Arona gets the match. But that's not too glamorous, is it? Give me Lil Nog and I'm happy. Hell, give us Silva/Nakamura, and I think the US fans will eat that up.
Wanderlei/Rampage and Machida/Thiago Silva sound like pretty good bouts for the November PPV. I agree that Chuck/Forrest for NYE is a natural provided Chuck beats Rashad Evans, and Chuck/Forrest will draw HUGE money for the UFC.