UFC Should Reconsider Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson a Bad Choice
A win over Lyoto Machida alone would be enough to make most fighters deserving of a title shot, but in this case, Rampage simply isn't the best option for the UFC.
Although Rashad Evans is currently set to fight Phil Davis later this summer, the UFC has scrapped fights before to make a better fight, and they should do that in this case, because right now Evans is the best option for the UFC.
Why Rampage Shouldn't Get A Title Shot
Quinton Jackson is without question one of the best light heavyweights in the world, but although he dominated Matt Hamill, he didn't finish him where Jon Jones utterly destroyed him.
Jackson's other recent victory over Lyoto Machida was also a bit lackluster, and in that case, many fans felt like Machida did more to earn the victory than Rampage.
Before that, Jackson lost to the aforementioned Evans, and didn't look particularly good in defeat.
But more than just his in-Octagon performances, it's what Jackson has done outside the Octagon that makes him a bad choice as a title contender.
Is Rampage Jackson Still A Big Draw?
It is generally assumed that Quinton Jackson is still a big draw, but I'm not entirely sure.
Jackson's fight with Lyoto Machida didn't do particularly well, and if trending numbers are accurate, UFC 130 will do only a mediocre number at best.
Part of the problem is that Rampage's questionable motivation doesn't exactly make people want to see him fight anymore.
Rampage doesn't care about winning the belt as much as he cares about making money, and has said that he'll retire once he makes as much money "acting" as he does fighting.
Rampage is a terrible actor, but as long as Jackson gets offered acting gigs, his focus isn't going to be on fighting.
Aside from not focusing on fighting, Rampage's efforts to actually promote his fights have been pretty half-hearted as well.
Before the Machida fight, Rampage was on Craig Ferguson's show calling Machida boring. Calling your opponent boring is never a great way to promote a fight.
At last week's post-fight press conference when Jackson was given a chance to hype a potential fight with Jon Jones, he had almost nothing about a man who has courted controversy with his clashing "I am the chosen one" and "son of a preacher man" personas.
If Jackson can't come up with one witty thing to say about Jones, he doesn't deserve his reputation as a comedian, or as somebody who is good at promoting fights.
Although Jackson did a big number when he fought against Evans, most of the credit for that goes to Evans who was really the source of the better quips, one-liners, and insults. Evans' characterizing Rampage as an Uncle Tom alone probably added 100,000 buys, while all Rampage could muster up was that Evan's breath stinks.
Rashad Evans Is The Better Option
Unlike Jackson, Evans has a legitimate grudge with Jones that seems to have fans jazzed, if nothing else, to see one of the two fighters get knocked out.
Given a little help from a UFC Primetime series, such a fight should easily do a big number on pay-per-view.
The UFC is risking that possibility by putting Evans against a very dangerous fighter in Phil Davis.
There is a very real possibility that Davis beats Evans by using his superior wrestling, and even if Evans wins, the outcome could very easily be a ho-hum decision that does nothing to make people believe in Evan's chances against Jones.
If Evans wins by knockout, a fight with Jones would be even more appealing, but is the risk really worth the potential gain?
Although a change would be kinda lousy for Davis, there is plenty of time to find him a new opponent, and Lyoto Machida is currently waiting in the wings.
Rampage Jackson needs to get passionate about fighting and promoting a fight before he's deserving of a title shot.
He also needs to put on a performance that convinces people that he'll be anything more than easy pickings for Jones.
Until those things happen, Evan's grudge with Jones should be more than enough to sell a big fight in October if the UFC is willing to scrap one single signed fight to make a much bigger one.
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