(Photo courtesy of Ultimate Fighting Championship)
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White on Tuesday made the official announcement that former light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell and former Pride FC middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva will finally meet in the Octagon on Dec. 29 at UFC 79: Nemesis.
Liddell and Silva have wanted this fight for years, but many questioned if it would ever actually happen.
In White’s statement, which came during the “Scream Awards 2007” on Spike TV, he said, “As you know, on Dec. 29 at UFC 79 this season’s coaches of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, will face off for the UFC welterweight title.
“But also, we’re adding to that card the most anticipated fight in mixed martial arts history. The fight that I’ve been waiting for, the fans have been waiting for. Finally it’s going to happen.
“The Iceman, Chuck Liddell, will face off against Pride superstar Wanderlei Silva. It’s a perfect way to end 2007.”
Liddell, who reigned as the UFC light heavyweight champion for more than three years, said of the fight, “”I’m excited this fight with Wanderlei is finally happening. I’ve been saying for a long time that, given the chance, I would knock Wanderlei Silva out. I think this will be a great fight for the fans, and one that lives up to their expectations, because I’m going to hit him until he falls down and stays down.”
Silva obviously feels differently, believing that a UFC title is in his future. “I’ve wanted to fight Chuck for a long time. I think about this fight a lot, our styles are very similar – we are both great strikers. I’m training very hard because I want to give my next victory to my fans. After I beat Chuck, then I want to fight the champion.”
When the UFC was finally able to sign Silva to a contract, White called it “the pinnacle of my seven year career in this company.” Now that he has finally been able to ink a deal for Silva to fight Liddell, there are many fight fans that are likely to feel the same way.