In the aftermath of Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s successful return to the UFC this past Saturday night with a win over Fabio Maldonado, the possibility of having a rematch with his old rival Rashad Evans has emerged.
Evans was one of a few veteran fighters who ‘Rampage’ named as potential opponents at the UFC 186 post-fight press conference.
“Honestly, I want to come back and beat everybody that beat me,” ‘Rampage’ told the assembled media. “I want to fight Shogun [Rua], Glover [Teixeira], Rashad [Evans] and make my way back up to [champion] Jon Jones. I am on a mission. That’s the honest truth.”
Evans happened to be an analyst for FOX Sports 1 that evening and he gave an immediate thumbs up to the idea of a second fight between the two.
“I would definitely give ‘Rampage’ a rematch,” Evans declared. “That’s a fight I’d really like to have. He came out there, he kind of looked alright. He had [some] things going on, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But I’ll tell you what. If that ‘Rampage’ gets in front of me, woooo, I’m gonna highlight reel knock out on him.”
The first fight between the two proved to be a major money-spinner for the UFC with over a million pay-per-views sold courtesy of a bitter rivalry between the two which had developed during their time as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter season 10 where they never missed an opportunity to engage in a war of words.
The eventual fight turned out to be something of a letdown, lacking the passion and intensity of their pre-fight antics, with Evans emerging as the winner by unanimous decision.
Five years on a rematch wouldn’t generate anything like the level of interest of their first encounter, but it’s definitely an option the UFC would at least be willing to consider though.
However, there’s several obstacles currently standing in the way, most glaringly the fact that ‘Rampage’ is now likely to be headed for a legal battle with Bellator who still insist that he breached his contract with them by singing for the UFC.
While ‘Rampage’ was able to fight in the Octagon on Saturday night after a court ruling overturned an injunction against him, even UFC president Dana White admitted following the event that the legal issues surrounding the fighter are far from over.
On top of that Evans hasn’t fought since 2013 after due to knee surgeries and is not expected to be back until the end of the year at the earliest.