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Zuffa Positioning Forrest Griffin To Replace Chuck Liddell As A Top PPV Draw?

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Dana White has repeatedly said that he will not let Chuck Liddell fight again, although Liddell hasn't officially made a decision in regards to that matter.  It was announced yesterday that Anderson Silva would move up in weight to fight TUF 1 winner and former UFC LHW champion Forrest Griffin.  Now let's tie all of this together and see if it makes sense:

  • Right now, Anderson Silva isn't liked by many people.  He will be the villian in this fight with the beloved Forrest Griffin.
  • Forrest Griffin is a decent PPV draw, but he's still not on Liddell's level
  • Griffin has a good chance of beating Anderson Silva

Basically with Liddell gone(if that holds true) the UFC will be losing a huge PPV draw.  I mean that is PPV buys that were pretty much guranteed everytime Liddell fought.  As I mentioned earlier, Griffin is a solid draw but he's still not on par with Liddell in terms of popularity and/or fanbase.  However, a win over Anderson Silva at UFC 101 could propel Griffin into that next level of stardom.  He would have beaten the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world according to Dana White.  An angle the UFC would surely run with for marketing purposes if it comes to fruition. 

I think this fight is really a win/win deal for Forrest Griffin.  If he goes out and beats Anderson Silva, he'll shoot up the so called pound for pound rankings.  He'll be right there contending for another shot at the UFC LHW title.  It would be the third time everyone thought he was going to get brutalized in the cage, only to overcome the odds to pull out the win.  Those are ingredients for fighters to shoot into that next level of superstardom.  If he loses, then he wasn't supposed to beat the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world anyway.  So I don't see a loss hurting his stock much(unless he gets the Chris Leben treatment from Silva).

Griffin poses problems for Anderson Silva.  He'll be the largest opponent that Silva has faced thus far in his career.  Griffin applies good pressure, and should be able to get the fight to the ground if he wants to.  He's well versed in submissions, so he should be able to avoid anything Silva tries to do from his back.  I can definitely see him grinding out a decision against "The Spider".  So with this fight, I think Zuffa sees this as an opportunity to do a couple of things.  It puts Anderson Silva in there with someone that will bring the fight to him so the fight should be exciting. It's against a 'big name' opponent, and if Griffin wins he'll become an even bigger star than he already is.  Which means he could supplant Chuck Liddell as one of the top PPV draws in the UFC.