Following the UFC on Fox press conference last week, Matt Bishop asked me about potential matchups the UFC could put together for the debut show on November 12. I came up with Lyoto Machida and Brock Lesnar -- before UFC President Dana White announced the latter would be out until 2012 -- as the obvious big names they would have available for a main event on that date.
There was one other guy I mentioned, though. Should he get by Yushin Okami on Saturday, the UFC could conceivably turn Anderson Silva around quickly and put him on national television. With Chael Sonnen booked against Brian Stann, however, the UFC would have to find an opponent at light heavyweight, a la the Affliction counter-programming with James Irvin back in 2008.
Tatame reports that there's someone else the UFC has in mind for Silva in November:
According to sources close to the situation, the middleweight champion is in talks with the UFC to fight Dan Henderson at UFC's first show on FOX, scheduled to November 12, in California.
Sources also indicated that if Henderson didn't agree to move down to middleweight months after a heavyweight showdown against Fedor Emelianenko, Chael Sonnen is the option to replace him against Silva.
I figured Henderson, who's made every indication that he wants to fight at 205 pounds, would one of the guys opposite Machida if they went that route. However, a title fight and rematch with Silva might be the sort of incentive he would need to make another cut to middleweight.
The bit about Sonnen doesn't jive, however. The Honda Center will host the November 12 show. The Honda Center is in Anaheim. Anaheim is in California. Chael Sonnen and California have a history together.
That said, the report fits with what White told the L.A. Times:
White said before he sets the main event for Nov. 12 he needs to watch what transpires Saturday when his long-reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva defends his belt against Yushin Okami and former light-heavyweight champion Griffin has a rematch with another former champion in the division, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, whom Griffin defeated at Honda Center.
Does that mean Silva could fight in Anaheim?
"I'm not saying that," White said. "Let me get through these fights."
Silva and Henderson previously met at UFC 82 in Columbus, Ohio. Silva submitted Henderson by rear naked choke at 4:50 of round 2.
[Update 9:40 p.m. ET] Chael Sonnen comments to MMA Nation:
"Wow. I'd be surprised. Tickets went on sale (last week for his UFC 136 fight with Brian Stann). I don't think they would - I'd be surprised. But, of course, I'd go along with it."
[Update by Brent Brookhouse 12:45 a.m. ET] While it's cleary no indication of anything specific a recent twitter exchange between Jay Glazer and Dan Henderson provides an interesting little gem:
Still can't believe my 2 sports that I love are both on FOX now. So stoked for Week 1 of NFL and 1st UFC on FOX in Nov!!! #dreamcometrue