Maurico “Shogun” Rua revealed in a recent interview with Tatame.com that former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was first offered the opportunity to step in for injured top contender Rashad Evans in a title fight against him, but turned down that fight. Jackson spoke to MMAJunkie.com and explained his decision for turning down the bout.
“I don’t care who the opponent is,” Jackson told MMAjunkie.com. “I’m not taking a fight on four weeks’ notice.
“It’s not enough time to get ready for a five-round fight,” he continued, explaining that we was currently 250 lbs. “Dana [White] knows that. And ‘Shogun,’ he’s a fighter, and he should know that. He shouldn’t even go and say [expletive] like that with him being a fighter. He saw me at the fight this weekend. Everybody saw how big I am.”
Evans blew his knee out in training last week, and the UFC began scrambling to find a replacement opponent for Rua’s scheduled March 19th title defense. Young prospect Jon Jones stepped up to fill the position in the end, getting offered the fight in-cage after defeating Ryan Bader last Saturday night.
As for Jackson, he has not fought since November of last year when he defeated Lyoto Machida. He will be facing Thiago Silva on May 28 at UFC 130.
“I’m just doing maintenance training right now,” Jackson said. “I just started back. I fought right before the holidays, and I went on vacation to see my family and took my kids to see their family in Japan.
“I’ve been living my life, so I gained a lot of weight. I’m a natural fighter. I don’t do any drugs, and I don’t know any high-performance drugs, so I have a natural body. My body gains weight when I don’t train and I don’t eat like I’m in camp.”
Rua and Jackson have fought each other before at PRIDE-Total Elimination 2005, and the result was a brutal TKO in favor of “Shogun.”
“The first time I fought ‘Shogun,’ I was injured going into that fight, and it’s haunted me all the way up to now. I always believed the second time I fight ‘Shogun’ that I’m going to be close to 100 percent as possible.
“I don’t want to have a rushed camp and have a last-minute fight to fight someone who’s already beaten me. Even if they offered me Forrest (Griffin) or Rashad (Evans) in four weeks, I can’t take that fight because I’m too big.”
Rua and Jones will square off this March 19th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey in the main event of UFC 128.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.