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Rampage’s next opponent – undetermined. Or is it?

By Gary Herman

After UFC 78, Dana White was very non-committal over who light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would be fighting next. White did eliminate one person:

“It won’t be Rashad (Evans) that faces Rampage,” White said.

However, White did not stop there when discussing Jackson. While not releasing any names, White said:

“We have big plans for Jackson’s next fight.”

Obviously, that comment will lead to a lot of rumors on who Jackson would be in the cage against next. If you look down the roster, there may not be a fighter that would meet the description of “big plans”. Here are some possibilities:

Forrest Griffin? While it would be a popular match-up, it just doesn’t seem major enough.

Keith Jardine? See Forrest Griffin.

Wanderlei Silva? Chuck Liddell? They’ll be a little busy over the next month or so.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua? Houston Alexander? Both coming off dominating losses.

That doesn’t leave too many guys in the UFC light heavyweight division that would be in-line for a credible title shot more less a major title shot.

I’m going to throw out a name now, and please remember – it is pure speculation only.

Randy Couture

Huh? Couture? How?

  • Well, as Dana White has made public knowledge, he and Couture will be meeting sometime soon. I don’t think they’ll be discussing what to have for lunch. They will be discussing if there is a way to salvage their dwindling relationship and find a way to get Couture back in the UFC. In fact, there are reports that the two even spoke briefly over the weekend.
  • With negotiations failed, finished and over with Fedor Emelianenko, Couture would need an opponent that would – as Couture says – get his “juices flowing.” As much as much as hardcore fans appreciate Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a Couture vs. Nogueira fight has nowhere near the same mass appeal as Couture vs. Jackson.
  • Couture’s last two losses came at the hands of Chuck Liddell. What better way to avenge those losses than to beat the man that beat Liddell?
  • A victory over Jackson would give Couture title belts in two weight classes at the same time – something no other fighter has ever done. Couture’s legend would continue to grow.
  • The money for the fight and the buy-rates for the fight could be astronomical. The match-up could set the record for the most MMA pay-per-view buys ever.

A Randy Couture vs. Rampage Jackson fight is nowhere near a done deal. In fact, there is no concrete reason to believe it has even been discussed. However, reading between the lines – there definitely are some clues that this could be the direction both Dana White and Randy Couture want to go. What a tremendous match-up for mixed martial arts this would be.

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