Contrary to an escalating war of words, and the wishful thinking of James Toney, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s next fight isn’t likely to be against the aging heavyweight boxing champion.
MMAWeekly.com sources have confirmed that Jackson and fellow Top 10 light heavyweight Thiago Silva have verbally agreed to fight at UFC 130 on May 28 in Las Vegas. MMAJunkie.com first reported the bout’s likelihood.
The banter between Jackson and Toney has hit a fever pitch. But after Toney was summarily dispatched by UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture in the boxer’s first MMA fight, UFC president Dana White said Toney was one and done in the UFC. He has stuck by his word.
Rampage (31-8) will instead try to make his way back into the title picture.
“Thanks to all my fans for the support on my next fight,” the former UFC light heavyweight champion Tweeted on Saturday night. “You have my word that I will train my ass off. I’m still on the road to get my belt back.”
Rampage lost the belt to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 in July of 2008. After putting back-to-back wins together following that fight, he dropped a unanimous decision loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 114 midyear 2010. That victory propelled Evans into a title fight against champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Rampage is coming off of a split decision victory over another former champion, Lyoto Machida, at UFC 123 late last year. Adding a win over a fighter the caliber of Silva to that inches him that much closer to the belt that he covets.
Silva (15-2) has alternated wins and losses in his last four bouts after racking up 13 straight victories to start his career. The American Top Team fighter rearranged Brand Vera’s face and sent him out of the UFC with a dominant unanimous decision win on Jan. 1 at UFC 125.
Slipping only against Machida and Evans, Silva is looking to Jackson to get his momentum back and make his own run at the UFC light heavyweight title.