While a heavyweight showdown between former UFC champions Pedro Rizzo (19-9) and Tim Sylvia (27-6) may provide fireworks on the feet, the winner will not be provided a UFC contract.
Contrary to several published reports, UFC president Dana White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he has made no such promises to either of his ex-employees.
"Where the [expletive] did that come from?" White asked with a laugh.
"In no way, shape or form do I want to disrespect Pedro because I really do like him, but he needs to retire. I'd like to see Pedro retire."
I suppose this shouldn't be seen as a shocking development to anyone as the initial rumor seemed to come out of nowhere but it's still a touch disappointing to me.
Both Rizzo and Sylvia are classic headcases who have been near the top of the division during the peaks of their careers and both are undoubtedly past their prime. Sylvia's defeat of Paul Buentello in August was his most significant win since defeating Brandon Vera at UFC 77 way back in October of 2007. A win over Rizzo would give Tim four consecutive victories and as faded as he I still think he could give a lot of heavyweights problems just via his reach. It's extremely unlikely that Tim would even come anywhere near cracking the top ten but I firmly believe he's at least as solid of a gatekeeper as a guy like Cheick Kongo.
Rizzo is also riding a three fight win streak with his two most recent wins being over fellow old timers Gary Goodridge and Ken Shamrock. It's a bit cliche in combat sports but the last thing to go for a fighter is power and Rizzo did look to have a decent amount of steam on his kicks and punches against Shamrock. Then again, Ken was basically a punching bag with legs for that fight.
It will be interesting to see if either man does get an invite to the UFC if they're able to string together 2-3 more wins. I just can't get over wanting to see how one of these old timers would do against the lower end of the UFC's heavyweight division. If nothing else, seeing a guy like Sylvia get a crack in Strikeforce would appeal to my nostalgic side.