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Chuck Liddell’s next opponent still a mystery

With rumors of a fourth fight between Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture taking place during a tentatively planned UFC 99 event in Germany on June 13 being branded as just that – rumors, recent media attention had turned to Liddell’s next fight taking place against Keith Jardine at UFC 96 on March 7 in Columbus, Ohio.

During a recent guest appearance on the syndicated CBS Radio program “The Tom Leykis Show,” the former UFC light heavyweight champion responded to a question about his next opponent by saying, ““There’s been a few names. We have (Keith) Jardine listed. We want him in March.”

However, a new report on MMA Weekly’s “Insider Blog” quotes an unnamed source as indicating that while Jardine is expected compete on the UFC 96 card, he won’t be fighting Liddell in a rematch from their 2007 encounter at UFC 76.

“Despite several reports assuring the fight, a source close to Jardine’s camp says he will not lock horns with Liddell at UFC 96 on March 7 in Columbus, Ohio,” states the MMA Weekly report.

Liddell at one point had been linked to a possible “superfight” vs. Anderson Silva. However, UFC President Dana White confirmed reports during a post-UFC 92 press conference that Silva’s next fight will “probably” be a middleweight title defense against Thales Leites at UFC 97 on April 18 in Montreal.

Liddell was in attendance during Saturday’s UFC 92 event and a camera closeup revealed a look of disappointment following Wanderlei Silva’s first round knockout loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. With Liddell believed to want to embark on a “revenge tour” in 2009, it’s possible that Jackson’s victory spoiled potential plans for a third fight between the two at UFC 96.

As of now, the indentity of Liddell’s first opponent following his knockout loss to current UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans this past September at UFC 88 remains a complete uncertainty.

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