According to multiple sources, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua has said that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson had been offered a championship fight before Jon Jones. In an interview with Tatame, Rua said, "The UFC thought of other alternatives, but it didn’t work out. For some reason [Jackson] didn’t accept it.”
Jackson has not yet commented on the report. This would not have been the first time Rua and Jackson have met. In 2005, Rua recorded a first-round technical knockout of Jackson in the quarterfinal round of a Pride Middleweight Grand Prix.
Rua's original opponent, Rashad Evans, had suffered a knee injury and was forced to withdraw from thier fight at UFC 128. With Evans out just weeks before the scheduled fight, the UFC was forced to scramble to find a replacement top contender.
After Jackson opted against taking the fight, the UFC was desperate. “This whole thing just sort of played out. It literally played out beside the Octagon right before Bader and Jones walked out,” said UFC President Dana White. White also stated, "Right before Jones and [Ryan] Bader came out, him and his team accepted the fight.”
Rua was ringside as Jones defeated Bader and was invited into the Octagon, as the announcement was made that Jones would be fighting for the title. Rua and Jones will fight at UFC 128, which will take place on March 19, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.
As for Jackson, he will be fighting Thiago Silva at UFC 130 on May 28, 2011. Although he turned it down, this offer shows how close Jackson, a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, is to fighting to reclaim his title.