Jackson, Silva Set for Different Paths in UFC’s Light Heavyweight Division


Quinton Jackson. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

A fourth fight between longtime rivals Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva will likely not be taking place anytime soon after Jackson avenged two prior losses against Silva by knocking out the former PRIDE middleweight title holder in one of the featured bouts at Saturday night’s UFC 92 event in Las Vegas.

UFC President Dana White shed some light concerning future fights for the two veterans at the post-fight press conference for UFC 92. According to White, Jackson could end up being the challenger in Rashad Evans’ first light heavyweight title defense at some point next year.

Jackson however, seems to be more interested in a rematch with Forrest Griffin, who defeated Jackson via an unanimous, albeit somewhat controversial, decision following their stints as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show in July.

“Why are we doing this? Everybody wants to be the best. Everybody wants to be the champ. To be quite honest, I’d rather go and fight Forrest,” Jackson said. “That’s the fight that haunts me when I go to sleep and I have nightmares about. That’s the fight that I see when I look at myself in the mirror. I want the belt and I want to be champion. I would like to get Forrest first though, if I could. But like I said, that’s up to the UFC. I just do my job and I’ll take whoever they put in front of me.”

In terms of Silva, his future is currently question-filled to say the least. Instead of handing out vicious beatings as he did for so many years during his PRIDE championship years in Japan, Silva has been on the opposite end recently, losing four out of his last five fights. Three of the losses were by way of knockout, jump-starting questions regarding whether some athletic commissions will start putting Silva on watch for his next few bouts.

After walking backstage on his own power, Silva was examined and cleared by doctors from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, leaving him with no known injuries. White seemed unsure regarding whether or not Silva was definitely going to continue his fighting career, but did say that he has plans for him if he decides to remain with the UFC.

It’s going to be interesting,” White said of Silva’s future. “Wanderlei is a tough guy, but he’s had a tough road during the last couple of years. There’s interesting fights for him too. Maybe we do him and Liddell again. There’s a lot of different things we can do. It depends. The biggest question is what does Wanderlei want to do. I think if Wanderlei wants to fight again, people want to see him. But as fighters, these guys have to decide where they want to go from here.”

Mir Admits Fear of Nogueira Destroyed Ego

In the months leading up to his fight against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, newly crowned interim UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir stated that he had the utmost respect for his opponent because of all of his career accomplishments. What Mir didn’t mention, was that the idea of fighting a guy that scared him to death. So much so, that the ego that once made him unliked by his fellow fighters has admittedly vanished.

“In training, I was terrified. That’s why I don’t have an ego anymore when it comes to training,” Mir said. “I pulled guys in from various gyms that would basically knock me out and I would be consistently submitted by Robert Drysdale and Demian Maia. That’s not easy, especially when my wife and my kids are there watching. I wouldn’t have done that two years ago. I had too much of an ego. Now I realize [what I was doing in the past] isn’t the way to go.

During his post-fight interview with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, Mir said that he didn’t believe he had the tools to beat Nogueira and wouldn’t have placed a bet on him to win the fight if he was a fan. Mir reassured his stance after being asked by a reporter during the press conference.

“On paper, I wouldn’t have picked me in the fight,” Mir said. “On paper, he’s the better fighter - He was a PRIDE champion, has a better record, and has a stronger list of opponents. That was the monster that I had to overcome and I took that into my training everyday.”

UFC 92: By the Numbers

The announced attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was 14,103 with a gate of $3.47 million and the UFC handed out $180,000 is bonuses following the conclusion of UFC 92.

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson received the “Knockout of the Night” award after his destruction of Wanderlei Silva in their rubber match and Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans received “Fight of the Night” honors as well. Each of the aforementioned fighters received $60,000. No award was given for “Submission of the Night” because their were no formal wins by submission on the card. (Griffin’s loss to Evans was officially ruled as a submission loss, but Griffin submitted to strikes, not to a hold)

Satoshi Ishii Set to Start Negotiations With UFC

Satoshi Ishii, who won a gold medal in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China earlier this year, is reportedly set to enter into exclusive negotiations with the UFC after spending the weekend at UFC 92 festivities as a special guest of the organization.

“I was impressed with the training programs here in Las Vegas and the UFC event,” Ishii said in a statement on UFC.com.  “I am looking forward to working with the UFC and to developing my mixed martial arts skills.”

Ishii reportedly spent time working out at the UFC training center and the Xtreme Couture gym where he sparred with Randy Couture. Ishii was originally rumored to be fighting on the upcoming FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008 card on New Year’s Eve, but postponed his MMA debut until after he finishes college this spring.

“Satoshi Ishii has the potential to be very successful in mixed martial arts,” UFC President Dana White said on the website. “We can’t wait to start working with Mr. Ishii, we look forward to helping him with his training, his career, and his eventual debut in a professional fight.”

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