On Saturday night it appeared as if Jon Jones was the UFC’s first choice to step in for the injured Rashad Evans to fight for the title at UFC 128, but according to current champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua that was not the case.
Speaking to the TATAME website, Shogun reveals that it was in fact Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson who was initially asked to fight for the belt.
“The UFC thought in other alternatives, but it didn’t worked out,” Shogun said. “For some reason he (Jackson) didn’t accepted it.”
Recently Dana White had revealed that Jackson was expected to be the next No.1 contender to fight the winner of Shogun Vs Evans if he defeated Thiago Silva in his next fight which is scheduled for May, so it makes sense he would have been the first person they would have called when news of Evans injury broke.
So far Rampage has not spoken out to confirm or deny what Shogun has said. Last year however he had stated that Shogun was someone that was on his own personal hit-list though after having lost their original encounter in PRIDE back in 2005.
Now Shogun is left contemplating an entirely different opponent in ‘Bones’ Jones, and he’s in no doubt that it’s going to be a difficult fight.
“I’ll have to change my training because he’s a lot different from Rashad, much taller, and it’ll be a great challenge. He’s been surprising everybody in the UFC, defeated everybody with easy, and it’ll be a tough fight for me”, he admits.