Former light heavyweight champ gets wish
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson wanted to fight in Japan one more time in his career. It looks like he'll get his wish after all.
ESPN.com brought word Thursday, sourcing UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, that Jackson has agreed to fight Ryan Bader in February at UFC 144. That card will be the UFC's first in Japan since December 2000.
Jackson (32-9, 7-3 UFC), one of Pride's biggest stars in Japan between 2001-2006, asked to be a part of UFC 144 as soon as word was out the UFC would host a show at the Saitama Super Arena just north of Tokyo.
He lobbied for a fight against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, who beat him in Pride in 2005. But Rua's loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 139 last week will keep him on the sidelines for a while. Jackson also asked UFC president Dana White for a fight with Stephan Bonnar, White told Heavy.com after Bonnar's UFC 139 victory over Kyle Kingsbury – a fight Bonnar also was interested in.
But earlier this week, Jackson Tweeted that he wouldn't be on the card and he believed not being included was a mistake by the UFC. But the about-face for the fight with Bader is likely to make him plenty happy.
Jackson took light heavyweight champion Jon Jones into the fourth round at UFC 135 in September before being submitted by him in an attempt to reclaim the 205-pound title. Before that, Jackson had wins over Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill.
Bader (13-2, 6-2 UFC), the Season 8 winner of "The Ultimate Fighter," snapped a two-fight losing skid last week at UFC 139 with a first-round knockout win over Jason Brilz. The first two losses of his career came when he was submitted by Jones, who earned a title shot in the process, and was submitted by Tito Ortiz in what will likely be the biggest upset of 2011.
UFC 144 will feature a main event lightweight title fight between champion Frankie Edgar and top contender Ben Henderson, a former WEC lightweight champ. In addition, Jake Shields will fight Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anthony Pettis takes on Joe Lauzon.