Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is without a doubt one of the most popular fighters in MMA, but where does the former PRIDE star stand in a division being engulfed by the next generation. The light heavyweight division has always been seen as the class with the deepest pool of talent, so with such an amount of viable title contenders, how far away is Rampage from achieving his place as number one contender.
Next up for Jackson is Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner Matt Hammill. Hammill is fresh from his decision victory over former coach Tito Ortiz back at121. Rampage himself is coming off his own decision win as he controversially got awarded the W ahead of former champ Lyoto Machida more recently at UFC 123.
Hammill will provide a sturdy test for Jackson as he may have the wrestling credentials to nullify Jackson’s stand up. As Rashad showed back at UFC 114, Jackson will struggle against a fighter who can take him down. That sounds like a stupid thing to say but everyone knows Jackson’s calling card is his one punch knockout power and no one will willingly fall into that trap anymore. Past wins against fighters like Silva, Liddell and Henderson were fighters that chose to stand and bang with him.
The key to this fight will be whether or not Hammill can take him down and dish out some Tito-Ortiz-style ground and pound. If not, I can’t see Hammill having the technical astuteness in the stand-up department to last 3 rounds with Jackson.
So let’s say, for arguments sake, that Jackson scores and impressive TKO victory over Hammill, what next? With Jones pulling out of the upcoming title fight, the middle of the division is now frantically clamouring for the now rescheduled defence. Sure, Evans could beat Phil Davis and re-establish his place but the uncertainty has given fresh hope to others trying to steal his shot.
To be honest, I see Rashad knocking Davis out in the first round but let’s say he doesn’t and Davis takes Evans down and controls him for three rounds to score a decision, how far from grace will the former champ fall? Perhaps he could fall into the lap of a vengeful Rampage?
I don’t know how warmly that fight would be received by MMA fans, as rematches need to be pretty widely called for before the MMA community will accept re-runs. For that fight to be a possibility, Rampage will need to demonstrate that his wrestling defence has improved enough to suggest he could handle the takedowns of Evans. I think I know the very man to test that…
provided by AHB (A HUNDRED BATTLES)