Revisting Pride: Rampage Jackson a Step Closer to Shogun Rua Rematch


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Quinton “Rampage” Jackson pulled out a narrow win over Lyoto Machida in their main event at UFC 123. Many disagreed with the judges’ scorecards, feeling that Machida was the fighter with the edge that night in Detroit.

Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson at Pride Grand Prix 2005

Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson at Pride Grand Prix 2005

This isn’t the first time a judges’ decision has been criticized more than a Michael Moore documentary. After all, this is MMA; what would this sport be without it’s scorecards written in controversy?

Whether you’re outraged over a lousy decision or happy to see justice served, it is what it is and there is no sense in crying over spilled milk. It’s done. Time to move on.

The only thing to do from here on out is anticipate what good can come from such a decision being made. And what good is that? A revisit to a classic Pride match-up, of course.

The UFC 123 victory for Rampage means he earns another step towards title contention. He is, likely, already in a slot to fight the winner of the Rashad Evans and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua bout, which is tentatively scheduled to go down as the main event in the UFC’s second trek to Abu Dhabi.

For argument’s sake, let’s say Rua gets through Evans in their anticipated light heavyweight title fight. What then? Insert Jackson into the equation and you have a potential summer blockbuster in 2011.

There’s your revisit to Pride, hardcore fans.

Rua and Jackson first battled back in 2005 where the middleweights (that was the equivalent of a UFC light heavyweight back then) met in that division’s Pride Grand Prix. The fight ended with Jackson being at the wrong end of soccer kicks delivered by eventual tournament champion Rua. A Muay Thai clinch moments before that included a Rua knee that broke Jackson’s rib.

Rampage agreed with Joe Rogan during their post-fight interview when the two spoke of a rematch between Jackson and Machida, but is that really what the fans want?

UFC president Dana White has already cast his vote against a rematch between Jackson and Machida, so don’t get too excited about it.

A Shogun-Rampage II headliner sounds like it might sell a bit more than a Machida-Rampage II headliner. Jackson would probably like it more too, seeing as he thought that Machida was boring leading into their fight.

Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson at Pride Grand Prix 2005

Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson at Pride Grand Prix 2005

Revenge sounds like an enticing treat too. Jackson had a similar taste for this back when he fought Rua’s former teammate, Wanderlei Silva, at UFC 92. As many know, Jackson and Silva were in two Pride match-ups that left monumental impacts on the sport. Silva went 2-0 in those fights and finished them in devastating fashion, especially the second meeting, where he kneed Jackson through the ropes en route to a knockout win.

UFC 92 was the third and final meeting between Jackson and Silva. It ended with Jackson exacting revenge when he landed a left hand that put Silva to sleep.

A rematch with Rua would likely draw more attention than Jackson’s third dance with Wanderlei. The reasoning behind that is Silva was the loser of three of his last four fights leading up to UFC 92. The fight had no title implications and was simply put together for the delight of those who remembered the Pride years.

If Shogun successfully defends his title against Evans, a fight with Jackson would have the same appeal as the Rampage vs. Silva rematch, only this time it will be for a championship belt in one of the UFC’s most fiery divisions. The fight can be dubbed “a rematch six years in the making.”

A Shogun-Rampage rematch makes a strong case for being one of the most anticipated MMA rematches in recent history. Obviously, the pairing would be an easy sell for the organization. Both Jackson and Rua are about as marketable as you can get in MMA, so it makes sense for this fight to happen if the cards fall in place.

There is no doubt, Shogun vs. Rampage 2 makes dollars and sense.

Lots of dollars and sense.

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