In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchman, Dana White gave some insight into the upcoming title fight between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and challenger Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
“Jones has all the tools,” said White, when asked about Jones’ potential. He looks incredibly talented. He’s got charisma. He’s intelligent. He’s good looking. He’s got the whole thing. But what he’s going to have to do now for me to start saying I think Jon Jones is the pound-for-pound best, is he’s going to have to go on an Anderson Silva run. He’s going to have to take out Rampage Jackson. He’s going to have to take out maybe Rashad Evans after him, or Tito Ortiz. And then he’s going to have to take out Machida, and you know there’s still a lot of guys in that line before we start calling Jon Jones the best in the world.”
White noted that he realized Jones was the real deal in his fight with Vladimir Matyushenko.
“When I really woke up to Jon Jones was when he beat Vladdy Matyushenko,” White stated. “Vladimir Matyushenko is one of these guys. He’s not the biggest name in mixed martial arts, people don’t swarm him for autographs when he walks into a crowd, but he’s been around for a long time and he’s very well respected, and you just don’t walk in and stop Vladimir Matyushenko.”
The fight to which White is referring was an August 2010 showdown between the fighters. Jones quickly put ‘The Janitor’ on his back, pinned his arms down in a salaverry position and disposed of him with hellacious elbows to the face, all within two minutes of the very first round.
Marchman asked the UFC President about Quinton Jackson’s motivation and his striking, a part of Jackson’s game labeled as ‘one-dimensional’ by the champion Jones.
“I don’t know, it depends,” Dana responded. “The one thing that I would agree with is that if you look, Rampage has been busted up with leg kicks in previous fights. But I’ll tell you this, Rampage, to me, what made me happy at that press conference, is Rampage seems like the old Rampage, like he’s back. He was in great shape at the press conference, told me he’s been training, he’s fired up for this fight, he’s moving his camp to Denver for the altitude training. So who knows? I’ll tell you what, I know this, a motivated Rampage is a dangerous Rampage. An unmotivated Rampage just gets by.”
Sharing company with BJ Penn and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, ‘Rampage’ has drawn criticism from fans worldwide for at times, looking like what observers call two different fighters. Injuries, ring rust, and unmotivated training camps have been the center issues of these discussions. Jackson looks to have corrected all of these matters for his upcoming shot at the title, having come off two consecutive wins on a regular fighting schedule, training at altitude, and with the man himself promising he’s injury free. Many fans believe he will need to be his best self to take the title from the 24-year old champion. Conversely, the world waits to see how Jones fares in his first title defense.
You can follow J.Wright on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/mJoshMMA.