by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The UFC today announced the signing of former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva.

In an article with UFC.com’s Thomas Gherbasi, the UFC announced that Silva will return to fight for the UFC for the first time in seven years. He last fought in the Octagon in April of 2000, losing a decision to Tito Ortiz at UFC 25.

The return of Silva, who is currently the #5 Light Heavyweight in the MMAWeekly World MMA Rankings, is slated for sometime in December. Although no date or opponent was announced, it is likely that “The Axe Murder” will make his return on the December 29 year-end extravaganza.

Both Silva and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell have stated several times that they would like to face each other and UFC President Dana White has tried for years to put that fight together, so it would not be a stretch to believe that Silva vs. Liddell is the likely match-up for Silva’s return.

Silva commented in Gherbasi’s article that, as a longtime Pride champion, it has been a dream of his to have the UFC belt around his waste.

The signing appeared to be the realization of a dream of sorts for White as well. He stated on UFC.com, “As crazy as this sounds, this is the pinnacle of my seven year career in this company.”

The UFC has reserved December 29 with the Nevada State Athletic Commission for an event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.