With Dana White dismissing the idea of an immediate rematch for Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Lyoto Machida following the former’s split decision victory at UFC 123, what is likely to come next for the two fighters?
Given the close nature of the fight I think both fighters remain in the upper reaches of the 205lb weight class, but of course Rampage now leapfrogs Machida and potentially could be in line for a title shot. Dana White was non-committal about that at the post-fight press conference however.
It’ll be interesting to see how they choose to play their hand here. If Rampage is not an automatic No.1 contender then that means the position could be on hold until other key bouts at light-heavyweight play out next year. That would make February 5th’s UFC 126 event featuring both Rich Franklin Vs Forrest Griffin and Jon Jones Vs Ryan Bader highly significant.
Personally I think both Rampage and Machida’s next fight should come from these pairings. I’d like to see Rampage face the winner of either bout to establish the No.1 contender with the Franklin – Griffin victor being the best bet at this stage. Meanwhile Machida would make a good next opponent for either the winner or loser of Jones Vs Bader.
I’d also throw in Antonio ‘Rogerio’ Nogueira as another potential opponent for Machida, particularly if they want to get him back in the octagon sooner rather than later, though the fact they have trained together may cause some difficulties in making this a reality.
Based on the way the fights are lined up currently It does seem as if whatever happens Rampage is going to have to bide his time to get either another top contender or title fight though, so don’t expect to see him back in action until around late April – May unless injuries spoil the UFC’s current plans.
Hopefully he stays in shape and doesn’t get distracted by the movie business in the mean time.