Thursday, May 28, 2009


Jackson Ducks Machida


After Lyoto Machida’s second round dismantling of Rashad Evans at UFC 98, it seemed evident that Quinton Jackson would be Lyoto’s next opponent. They were even rumored to be coaching against each other on the next (tenth) season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, on the Spike television network. This rumor fell apart as Dana White announced that his next coaches would be Jackson and Evans. This begs the question as to why Quinton would give up a title shot against Machida simply to avenge some smack talking from Rashad Evans.

After Jackson soundly defeated Keith Jardine by unanimous decision, Rashad, who held the belt at the time, rushed into the cage, got nose to nose with Jackson and did some smack talking. Evans later claimed that it was a gut reaction to watching his training partner lose a unanimous decision to Quinton. This is fine and dandy and is an age-old technique for promoting and building hype around a future fight but realistically this should be set aside when the opportunity of a title shot comes along. After all, is not the goal of every athlete to hold a championship?

There is no doubt that if Quinton got a win over Lyoto he would get his fight with Rashad and settle any score that he may have had. There would probably be more money to be made. Unfortunately at this stage of the game, Rashad has been placed on a tier below Machida, as have many others. The aura of Machida is now akin to the likes of Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. They’ve cleaned out their respective divisions with such authority that great fighters appear to be second rate in their shadow. This is where Rashad has landed. Just days ago Rashad Evans was an unbeaten champion and today he is the equivalent of Rich Franklin in the Light Heavyweight division. For some time he appeared unstoppable and while he obviously remains a force to be reckoned with, he is not at the same level as the man who defeated him. This was clearly shown at UFC 98. 

Now, while Quinton Jackson has proven himself as the type of fighter who will take on all comers, perhaps he sees only defeat for himself in a bout with Machida. I can think of no other reason to turn down that title shot. A loss like that will surely drop his stock and place him in a heap with many other extremely talented, now “second- tier” fighters…and I use the phrase respectfully. Although he’s coming off of two impressive wins over Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine, a fight with Rashad is undoubtedly a much safer gamble for his career and undoubtedly Rampage realizes this.

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