Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s next opponent has been a mystery since it was revealed that his UFC 130 opponent, Thiago Silva, had questionable results for his UFC 125 drug test and would not be able to fight at the scheduled date. But it almost happened. It being the much anticipated rematch of bitter rivals Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans seemed to be the perfect bout to replace Jackson’s canceled fight with Thiago Silva.
Silva’s drug test results were questionable, so his bout at UFC 130 was scratched. Evans’ injured knee would likely have had enough time to heal in time for the bout but it was never made official. Evans injured his knee training for his title fight against UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, his teammate Jon “Bones” Jones stepped in his place and will challenge for the belt on the same date. There is no official word yet as to Evans being fully rehabbed and ready to fight again or against whom he will fight next when Evans does return, a second installment of Jackson-Evans wasn’t in the cards. It was recently announced that Jackson would be facing off against Matt Hamill at UFC 130 instead of Evans.
During a recent appearance on Pro MMA Radio, Evans revealed his disappointment that his grudge match with “Rampage” fell through. “I wanted it. I was gonna do it for May. When I heard Thiago (Silva) was out I was like ‘Alright, I’ll fight Rampage again,’ but then they put Matt Hamill in there. They didn’t want to put that fight together for whatever reason. I would have found a way. I woulda gave it a go. I’ve been doing some pretty aggressive treatment on my knee and I was thinkin’ I was gonna be ready.”
Jackson was offered a late-notice title fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua after Rashad Evans was forced out of their scheduled fight with a knee injury, but Jackson turned that fight down for not being in proper shape. Then it was rumored he would face his rival Evans once he recovered from his surgery, but that was denied when it was finally announced that Jackson would be facing Matt Hamill in his next fight.
Jackson’s manager, Anthony McGann, spoke with Yahoo! Sports recently about the surprise match up saying “We were given Hamill on the May show and initially Quinton was disappointed. Matt just wasn’t one of the guys he has been focusing on. He really wants Rashad again or Stephen Bonnar because both are disrespectful to him, He respects Matt as a tough opponent and he believes that Matt is someone who will put on a show which is what he loves to do. He just had never paid him no mind until Joe Silva offered him.”
From “Rampage’s” perspective, he is trying to find the motivation to fight Hamill based on “The Hammer’s” campaigning for a bout against him. “Rampage” told Yahoo! Sports that Matt Hamill will regret the day he sought out a fight with “Rampage.” “He wants me? Well, he can have me,” Jackson said. “I’m gonna knock him into tomorrow.”
Jackson is missing that highlight reel KO we as MMA lovers have grown so accustomed to witnessing. Let’s hope the “Rampage” of old shows up and not Quinton Jackson as we all know Jackson will take fights off if he isn’t motivated much like BJ Penn.
UFC 130 is scheduled to take place May 28th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.