With the UFC today officially confirming UFC 123: Rampage Vs Machida, the two headline stars have given their initial thoughts on the fight which has major implications for their careers and the 205lb division.
Prior to his last fight with Rashad Evans, Quinton Rampage Jackson had been on a rollercoaster ride. From coaching TUF season 10, to quitting the UFC to star in the A-Team movie, and then back again, it was hardly ideal preparation.
This time the former light-heavyweight champion is ensuring that training takes top priority.
“I started this camp very early,” Jackson said. “I stayed in shape from the last fight and the weight hasn’t been an issue this time. Every single minute of this camp will be focused on technique, not getting back in shape or shaking the ring rust after a long time off.”
In the past Rampage has been wary of fighting the Brazilian Karate master due to his elusive style, but while he still feels that’s an issue he plans on stopping him in his tracks.
“If Machida decides to fight me, it will be an exciting fight for one round before he goes to sleep. I am expecting him to run from me, though. He’d wear sneakers into the Octagon if he could! But don’t worry, I will hunt him down and get him anyway.”
Meanwhile his opponent Lyoto Machida is looking at the bigger picture and sees this blockbuster bout as simply a step back towards the top of the 205lb ladder.
“I know what it’s like to be the champion and I want to be the champion again,” Machida said.
In order to do that ‘The Dragon’ is taking an analytical approach to the fight and believes there are holes in Jackson’s game that he can exploit.
“I respect Rampage and I think he is an incredible fighter, but I’m going to expose his weaknesses – I’m going to win this fight on November 20 and go after the light heavyweight title.”
The two meet in the headline bout of UFC 123 which takes place on November 20th in Detroit, Michigan.