UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will make his first title defense against top contender Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 135 in September from Denver, CO.
“Rampage is a great combatant,” Jones stated in an interview with SBNation.com. “He’s a respectable name. He’s knocked out some of the best people in the sport. So it’s a great opportunity for me to elevate and that’s what wakes me up in the morning.”
While Jones has torn through the 205lb. division, with his only setback being a controversial disqualification loss to Matt Hamill in a bout that Jones was dominating, there have been questions as to how Jones would react if he were to ever get in trouble.
“Every fight I go in to, you guys say ‘oh he’s never been hit, he’s never been hurt’ and that happens for a reason,” the champion explained. “I walk out there on fight night and avoid punches. It takes countless hours of preparation and knowing what you’re getting into and what your opponent’s tendencies are, so it’s just like any test, you shouldn’t take the big hits like ‘F’s’ when you study and do your homework.”
Jackson earned the shot after garnering back-to-back victories over Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill. It is Jackson’s first title fight since he lost the UFC light heavyweight championship via unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 in July of 2008. Jones let it be known that he will be prepared for Jackson’s heavy hands come September.
“Rampage, he’s in a great spot,” Jones admitted. “He’s achieved a level of success where he should be comfortable with living. Ultimately, that all of our goals. As a combatant, I’m sure he doesn’t wake up feeling the scratch when he trains being in his mid 30’s now. But he’s still the same guy. You always have to respect an opponent. It only takes one punch to end a fight and this guy is known to have some of the most extreme punching power in our sport’s history so obviously I have to train and have my boxing defenses up, my mixed martial arts skills up, and I’ll be ready for him.”
UFC 135 will take place on September 24, 2011 from the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. It is the first time that the UFC has run Denver, the site for UFC 1 and UFC 2, since UFC: Ultimate Ultimate 1995 back in 1995, although they have run smaller events in nearby Broomfield, CO.