With UFC 96 only 2 days away, Quinton Rampage Jackson and Keith Jardine, met the press at the customary pre-fight press conference to address last minute questions about their fight and of course what will happen in the light heavyweight division after their bout is over.
UFC President Dana White announced at the press conference that UFC light heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, would be defending his title this summer against either Jackson if he is victorious against Jardine, or Lyoto Machida if Jardine wins. White was also adamant in saying that if Jardine does get the win, he will get closer to a title shot, and he will fight Evans if he’s still the champion.
“Very important fight for both of these guys,” White said. “Ever since Quinton’s “episode” he’s been back on track, looked amazing in his last fight, he wants the title back obviously. He wins this fight Saturday he gets the next title shot.”
“Keith Jardine, a win for him will move him up in the ranks, he’ll eventually have to fight Rashad Evans. If Rashad Evans keeps winning and he keeps winning, he says they won’t but I guarantee you they will.”
White stressed the importance of title fights and the opportunity that goes along with being the 205lb champion in the UFC, and he believes that when push comes to shove, Jardine and Evans will fight.
“Rashad and Keith saying they won’t fight each other, la la la la la. I don’t listen to it. I don’t hear that (expletive),” said White. “They’re going to fight each other. This isn’t (expletive) baseball. You’re not on a team. You’ve got training partners that you train with. I just said to a guy earlier, Larry Holmes was Mohammad Ali’s sparring partner for years and the list goes on and on. Many friends in boxing – like guys whose kids grew up together. They have dinner together every Sunday – have fought each other. It’s not about I hate you and I want to kick your ass. It’s about we’re two professional athletes and we want to find out who the best in the world is.”
While Jardine still didn’t seem to warm on the idea of fighting his teammate, Quinton Jackson expressed his feelings on the subject and offered to help his opponent out on Saturday night.
“I feel bad for Jardine right here, you know Dana said he’s going to make him fight his friend,” said Jackson. “I have friends I train with, I couldn’t see myself fighting them. I couldn’t see myself fighting my friends I train with, I like Jardine and I like Rashad, but Dana’s right this is mixed martial arts, it’s a business, it’s a sport.”
As Jackson looked over at Jardine, he decided to keep the scenario of putting him in a fight against Evans on the back burner by beating the “Dean of Mean” in their fight.
“I’m going to try to help you out, I got your back,” Jackson said to Jardine.
Jackson and Jardine will square off on Saturday night to see who exactly will take one more step towards a title shot against champion, Rashad Evans.