There has been a lot of discussion about what exactly the UFC's plan is for TUF 10 contestant Kimbo Slice. Kimbo and Dana White have both stated that he will be fighting in the UFC again, most likely in December. Whether that will be at the TUF 10 finale or UFC 107 has not yet been determined. If the fight is at the TUF finale the best guess is that it will be against another contestant on the show, most likely one of the lesser competitors. If it is at UFC 107 the name Houston Alexander has been brought up and Kimbo has stated he is willing to cut to 205. Either way the idea is to match Kimbo up with someone who will stand with him hoping to get Kimbo a highlight reel KO to generate some buzz for a big-money matchup for Kimbo sometime next year. With who you might ask? Enter The Iceman.
Chuck Liddell hasn't fought since April 18th at UFC 97, a loss to LHW title contender Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua. At the time Dana White was pushing the idea that this was Chuck's last fight. Unfortunately for him Chuck didn't necessarily see it that way. So what are you to do with a fighter who doesn't want to retire and still has fights left on his contract yet is clearly past his prime? Well, first of all you give him some time off and land him a spot on 'Dancing With the Stars'. Then what? This is the question Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Joe Silva are struggling with. Before DWTS was confirmed there was some talk of Chuck vs. Rich Franklin at UFC 103 but obviously that didn't pan out. Then it was decided Chuck would take an extended break to film the TV show. That put the question of Chuck's next opponent on the back-burner for a bit but eventually the question would still need to be answered.
For those of you who have been living under a rock since spring the news that Kimbo Slice would compete on The Ultimate Fighter broke on June 1st. In the third episode he was chosen to fight Roy 'Big Country' Nelson and was quickly smothered. That fight pretty much proved what we already knew- Kimbo is a raw fighter with no ground game and a decent punch. But he does do one thing better than almost any other MMA fighter- bring in viewers. The casual audience can't get enough of the street fighting legend and the UFC knows this. The question is what is the best way to squeeze the most money out of the Kimbo train before he is hung out to dry. They can't risk putting him in there with guys like Nelson who will quickly take him down and sub or TKO him on the ground. The guy isn't an elite fighter and most likely will never have the skills to compete at the highest levels of the sport but that doesn't mean he can't be an important part of Zuffa's business plan with the right marketing and matchups. If only there were a fighter that loved to stand and bang, wasn't overly fast or technical, and had the same type of name recognition as Kimbo......
A Chuck Liddell vs. Kimbo Slice matchup makes perfect sense, not only for the UFC but for both fighters as well. If (and this is admittedly a big IF) Kimbo can take care of business in December, against a guy that will be hand picked as the best possible matchup for Kimbo, this will set up one of the biggest fights in UFC history. Not big as far as title implications go but big in the sense that it will more than likely deliver one of the two biggest buyrates in company history. If Kimbo wins it will just make him that much bigger of a name and legitimize him to an extent most likely guaranteeing him at least two or three more fights in the UFC. If Chuck wins it will probably put him one victory away from a final shot at title. If Kimbo loses then it will not surprise anyone and will probably chase him from the promotion, proving he does not belong. If Chuck loses that will be three in a row and will tell him once and for all it is time to hang up the gloves. My only hope is that they don't make this the main event as it is not worthy of that status, as the co-main of a card featuring an Anderson Silva or BJ Penn title defense it makes perfect sense. I'm rooting for Kimbo to win his next fight as I think this would be wildly entertaining and bring in hoards of new fans like UFC 100 did. Good luck Kimbo, let's make this fight happen!