Lost in the madness of today’s conference call was president Dana White’s confirmation that the victor of the UFC 114 light heavyweight scrap between Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will get first dibs at Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s new title.
“I did commit to the winner (of UFC 114) getting a title shot,” White stated.
Although everybody and their mothers anticipated this scenario playing out, for some reason White refused to confirm that the main event on May 29th would serve as a 205-pound top contender bout. Rampage, for one, has prepared as though the strap was on the line nonetheless.
“I’ve been training for this fight like it was a title shot,” Jackson said. “I’ve been training 5Rounds because I still feel like I’m a champion in my mind. So for it to be a title shot next makes it sweet.
“So I can just go right into it and keep training those 5Round and get my belt back and get back on the right track of being one of the best fighters in the world.”
Shogun took the crown at UFC 113 when he put Lyoto Machida to sleep in the 1stRound of their highly anticipated rematch. Machida was handed a controversial unanimous decision in their initial meeting, however Shogun redeemed himself by going circa 2005 and capturing his first major championship belt.
Rampage and Evans were originally slated to fight at UFC 107 after completing their assignments as coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights,” however Rampage opted to turn his back on MMA and accept the role of B.A. Baracus in the movie remake of “The A-Team.”
Rampage holds an impressive 30-7 professional record, however hasn’t fought since taking an uneventful unanimous decision over Keith Jardine, Evans’ Jackson Submission Fighting teammate, at UFC 96 last March.
Evans bounced back nicely from his only professional loss when he escaped with a unanimous decision victory over Thiago Silva at UFC 108. Although the wrestler dominated much of the matchup, Evans was nearly knocked out in the fight’s closing seconds by a desperate Silva.
UFC 114 takes place May 29th inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.