Jackson to the right
You do not always get what you want in life. That was the case for Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as he was proclaiming a victory in his fight with Glover Teixeira this evening. Indeed, things didn't go the way the former light heavyweight champion had expected, as Teixeira defeated Jackson by unanimous decision.
This fight was the final fight on Jackson's UFC contract. Rampage has been loudly speaking that this was his final fight in the UFC, and that he wants to go to a place where he feels respected.
The loss tonight was the third in a row for Jackson. Even though Jackson has a lot of star power, it will be difficult for Jackson to find the right contract and place to fight.
Could we see Rampage back in the UFC?
Let's take a look at reasons why Quinton Jackson will be back in the UFC.
Rampage Jackson has stated that when he is looking for a new fight promotion, money will not be the biggest factor. The former light heavyweight champion had made a reported $15.2 million (h/t Trent Reinsmith of Bleacher Report) heading into tonight's fight at UFC on Fox 6. Who could offer Jackson the money he has made in the UFC?
Bellator could be in the hunt due to Viacom being a majority. One FC doesn't have any light heavyweights for Jackson to face. It would be hard to see any of the other regional promotions like MFC, Legacy or XFC being able to come close to what Jackson was making in the UFC.
That is why the road leads back to the UFC. UFC fighters make the most money per fight and combining that compensation with money from sponsors, the UFC is the best option.
At the end of the day, we have bills to pay and families to support. To be able to do that, you need money.
The light heavyweight division is one of the deepest divisions in the UFC. You have the champion in Jon Jones and fighters like Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, Gegard Mousasi, Glover Teixeira, Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida.
Now that Rampage is a free agent, what fighters are out there who could give Jackson a stiff test? The only serious option is in Bellator against Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal.
Say that fight happens, then who does Jackson face after that? The pool at 205 pounds starts and ends with Lawal. The UFC has the best light heavyweights in the world, and if you want to face the best, the UFC is the place to be.
When you are in fighting, you want to face the best and beat the best. Legacy is very important to fighters. Rampage Jackson has lost his last three fights in the UFC. Those losses have been to Jon Jones, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira.
Now that he is a free agent, Jackson is free to pick and choose where he fights next. Jackson is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and has defeated the likes of Chuck Liddell (two times), Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida and Wanderlei Silva.
A fighter of Jackson's stature doesn't want to lose his last three fights in the UFC and then go fight guys who are no where near the caliber of the fighters he has defeated.