UFC president Dana White spoke with media following the conclusion of the UFC Fight for the Troops 2 fight card last Saturday night and touched on a number of topics, including the state of the currently crowded light heavyweight division.
With champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua having been out of action since last May due to knee surgery, the light heavyweight division is starting to develop a log jam of top contenders. During the press conference, White acknowledged that fact and revealed that divisional mainstay Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will likely be next in line for a title shot.
“There are so many guys at 205… ‘Rampage’ is probably next in line,” White said. “‘Rampage’ is still in the mix.”
Some have argued that young up-and-comers Jon Jones and Ryan Bader are ready for a title shot and that the winner of their upcoming fight should be awarded a chance at the belt; White revealed on Saturday night that the winner of Bader-Jones will earn a top spot in the division, but that they will likely need one more fight before earning a shot at the belt.
“We’ve got Jon Jones and Ryan Bader and the 5th, which is going to be a great fight and catapults one of those guys to the top five,” he said. “There’s so many great guys in the 205-pound division.”
White also pledged that, with Rua’s recovery, the 205-pound title picture will be cleared up rapidly, meaning more fights and more excitement from one of the promotion’s deepest weight classes.
“The big problem has been ‘Shogun’s’ injury has been clogging up the division,” said White. “Now he’s healthy and going to fight, and we’ll get everything rolling.”
Rua is tentatively scheduled to defend his belt against Rashad Evans at UFC 128 this March 19th, while Jones and Bader will square off this February 5th at UFC 126. Fresh off of a close win over former champ Lyoto Machida, “Rampage” is scheduled to face Thiago Silva at UFC 130 late this May and MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture could catapult himself into title contention with a win over Lyoto Machida this April 30th.