Quinton "Rampage" Jackson: 5 Opponents for His Possible UFC Swan Song
The thread of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's MMA career is fraying.
First, he lost to Ryan Bader in his return to Japan at UFC 144. Then, he said he didn't want to fight in the UFC anymore after he fulfilled his contract, which conveniently contained only one more fight. (For its part, upon hearing that announcement the UFC invited Rampage to go ahead and sort of not let the door hit his backside on the way out.)
Then, possibly in retaliation, the UFC pitted Jackson against Glover Teixeira—a not-so widely recognized name who nonetheless stood a very good chance of beating him—at UFC 153.
Then, Rampage Jackson pulled out of UFC 153 with an injury.
Given that 30 percent of Jackson's losses have come in the most recent 15 percent of his career and given that he's 34 years old with 42 fights under his belt, Jackson may be nearing the end of the line.
Don't get me wrong: He's still a bad dude. But, he's not exactly fully dialed in on his pro fight career and hasn't been for years. Will his next fight be his last, either in the UFC or overall? I have no idea. But if it is, these five opponents can give him a proper send-off, which I'll define as a win, an exciting fight or a culturally significant matchup.
5. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Another important figure in the sport slowed by father time. Though both men (especially Lil Nog) are strong on the ground, it's not hard to picture this one ending in a TKO.
4. Muhammed Lawal
Currently under contract with Bellator and TNA wrestling(!) but they could probably find a way to do a one-off in the UFC, perhaps away from U.S. soil.
A fight between the two would be worth bringing the disgraced Lawal back under the Zuffa tent; Rampage and King Mo have feuded for quite a while, and I'd like to see them settle it in a cage.
UPDATE: Well, apparently they squashed their beef. Excuse me for not being a beef librarian. Whatever, I'd still like to see them fight.
3. Dan Henderson
A rematch of the UFC 75 fight to unify the UFC and Pride light heavyweight titles. (Jackson took a close decision.)
If Dan Henderson loses to Lyoto Machida, who wouldn't pay to see these two old-school bangers bang?
2. Chael Sonnen
They've exchanged verbal barbs, and with Sonnen now up at light heavyweight, there's no downside here.
Sonnen will try to get Jackson on his back, possibly forcing Rampage to resort to that wrestling stuff, which long ago was Jackon's bread and butter.
1. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Shogun defeated Jackson in Pride back in 2005, when cars were still operated by a hand crank, and all the men styled their mustaches in handlebar fashion.
A rematch would provide some fireworks with a heaping side of nostalgia. You know, assuming the fighters came in ready.
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