After calling out former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (36-11 MMA, 1-0 UFC), former EliteXC title holder Antonio Silva (17-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has been granted his wish, and the two are now expected to meet at February's UFC 156 event.
The Las Vegas Review Journal first reported the planned matchup, which is contingent on Overeem receiving a license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission pending the conclusion of his current suspension.
UFC officials later confirmed the planned matchup.
Featuring a featherweight title fight between current champ Jose Aldo and former lightweight title holder Frankie Edgar, UFC 156 takes place Feb. 2 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The evening's main card airs on pay-per-view.
The massively chiseled Overeem has long been at the center of controversy regarding performance-enhancing drug use accusations. The Dutchman long contended he was a "clean fighter" and the "most-tested athlete in sports." However, he was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission earlier this year when a a pre-UFC 146 drug test was flagged for a 14-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio, more than twice the 6-to-1 ratio allowed by the commission.
Overeem maintained his innocence throughout his NSAC hearings and suggested a prescribed injection was responsible for his heightened ratios. Still, the NSAC issued him a nine-month suspension that ends Dec. 27.
UFC President Dana White in October revealed Overeem is still considered the division's No. 1 contender and is welcome to wait for the Dec. 29 bout between current champ Junior Dos Santos and former title holder Cain Velasquez to determine his next appearance, which would be for the UFC heavyweight title.
But Overeem's camp recently warned they weren't sure if waiting was their client's best option. After all, injuries and other unpredictable hurdles could mean the fight wouldn't take place for several months after the UFC 155 headliner, and Overeem's primary goal right now is to get back to competition for the first time since a December 2011 win over Brock Lesnar.
He has now apparently elected to act on that instinct.
Meanwhile, Silva recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he'd be happy to welcome Overeem back to action.
"If Overeem really doesn't want to have to wait for a fight after his suspension is up, I am here ready to welcome him," Silva today told MMAjunkie.com. "I respect him as an athlete. After all, he was K-1, DREAM and Strikeforce champion. But I am not worried about titles or belts right now.
"Overeem is big and strong, but I know I can beat him. Even if was created in the lab, I can beat him."
In addition to the new booking of Overeem vs. Silva, the Las Vegas Review Journal's report also confirmed the long-rumored matchup of Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
For more on UFC 156, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Alistair Overeem)