UFC 135 Results: Top 8 Potential Conquests for Rampage Jackson Going Forward

Andrew MahlmannCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2011

UFC 135 Results: Top 8 Potential Conquests for Rampage Jackson Going Forward

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    The thing driving veteran and former champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson for years has been the quest to "get his belt back."

    Before UFC 135, I felt that Rampage Jackson might not have much direction left in his fighting career should he lose to champion Jon Jones.

    Jackson did lose, but I was definitely wrong about his potential going forward.

    Jones was the better man, but Rampage looked as good as he ever has, and he still has the fighting spirit in him.

    I might not have realized it before hand, but Rampage has a lot of compelling options going forward.

    These are the top eight potential conquests for Rampage going forward...

8. Alexander Gustafsson

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    Jackson does not need to fall into the category of former champions who fight against each other for the sake of picking up a payday and staying relevant.

    Gustafsson is a talented and very promising up-and-comer.

    By fighting and defeating a guy like Gustafsson, Jackson can prove he is not just showing up for a paycheck but that he is here to fight hungry guys and affirm his position as one of the baddest men on the planet.

7. Professional Boxing

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    UFC commentator Joe Rogan has long lamented Jackson's reliance on his boxing abilities as opposed to mixing it up.  

    Rampage relies on his boxing for good reason—it is great.

    He has fast powerful hands, a granite chin and in this fight against Jones, he showed impressive head movement.

    If he so wanted, Rampage Jackson could jump into the realm of professional boxing and find some successes.

6. Heavyweight Matchups

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    The Light Heavyweight division is where Jackson is his most competitive, but he does not need to rule out the possibility of someday moving up to heavyweight.

    Sure, Jones made Jackson look a little small, but Jones is an athletic freak, and Jackson is indeed a large light heavyweight.

    When the 205-pound division ceases to be interesting to Jackson, he can then start eating all that he likes and bring his knockout power up to the heavyweight division.

    Even against larger men, Jackson's stalwart wrestling and knockout power will be a formidable force.

5. Thiago Silva

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    Although both are talented counter-strikers, you would be hard-pressed to find more confrontational fighting styles in the UFC's light heavyweight divisions.

    These two sluggers were scheduled to fight at UFC 130, but Silva was removed from the card due to a suspension from the Nevada state athletic commission and the UFC.

    Silva's suspension is almost up and this clash would be as compelling, and brutal, as ever.

4. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

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    A dream fight for Pride-era fans.  

    Pride had some of the best fighters in the world in Rogerio Nogueira and Jackson, but the two never met up.

    If Nogueira gets past Tito Ortiz in his next bout (a friend of Jackson's), then we could see a dynamite meeting between two of the best and most technical boxers in the division.

3. Forrest Griffin

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    Jackson was on top of the world after defeating dominant champion Chuck Liddell for his coveted crown and then unifying the belts against Pride champion Dan Henderson in his first title defense.

    His next fight was against Forrest Griffin, who was a considerable underdog.  

    Griffin fought a great fight and took Rampage's belt by a narrow judges' decision.

    Afterwards, Jackson notoriously went on a destructive "Rampage" through southern California and has insistently pined to get his belt back.

    Although he cannot get his belt back, a clash with Griffin could grant Jackson a certain measure of vindication.

2. Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal

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    Lawal has been following in Jackson's footsteps.

    Both men are from Tennessee, have a special flair outside of the ring and have similar styles inside of the ring.

    Both men also started building their fighting reputations in Japan.  

    These boastful fighters have already called each other out and have had a feud simmering and occasionally boiling for a couple years now.

    A clash would be destructive and fan-friendly.

1. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

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    Shogun and Rampage first clashed back in the Pride organization in Japan back in 2005.

    Shogun blitzed Rampage, beating him down and finishing him quicker than anyone else ever has.

    Although a lot has happened in the world of MMA and in their respective careers since then, both fighters are still at the top of the light heavyweight pecking order and have taken their games to new levels.