There are many people who think Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida deserved the decision victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in Saturday night’s UFC 123 main event. Even Rampage himself said he got his “ass kicked” and felt he owed Machida an immediate rematch.
Color commentator Joe Rogan helped foster the idea of an immediate rematch when he said he was in favor of it and also asked the fans in the arena if they were in favor of it during his post-fight interview with Jackson. And it did sound like the fans were in favor of a rematch.
The first two rounds were close, no doubt about it. And for the most part, it came down to the fact of whether or not Rampage’s constant aggressiveness and boxing should be rewarded more than Machida’s elusiveness and occasional strikes.
In the end, the judges favored Rampage’s aggressive style of seeking out the fight. As Rampage might say, he was there to fight — not win the “Ultimate Elusive Fighter” award.
Immediate rematches are sometimes granted when a fight is considered close and there is no obvious winner despite the judges’ ruling. In fact, Machida’s last fight was an immediate rematch against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua after he defeated Rua via unanimous decision in their first bout.
If one were thinking logically, they might even think because the first Machida-Shogun fight ended in a unanimous decision, yet was deemed “close enough” to warrant an immediate rematch, that this Machida-Rampage bout, which ended in a SPLIT decision, might be considered even more worthy of a rematch.
Apparently though, UFC President Dana White sees no controversy here and seemed a bit miffed at Rampage for even suggesting such. White said there will be no rematch.
If they did fight again and Machida won, that would put him very close to another title shot. The way it is now, Rampage is probably a fight or two away from a title shot. Could it be the UFC feels Rampage would be a better representative of what their sport is about than “Mr. Elusive?”
It’s just a question.
White felt Rampage won the first two rounds, was the aggressor and moved forward the entire fight. In a post-fight interview with Fanhouse, White talked about what he saw as the best looking Rampage in some time:
“I thought he looked a million times better than he has in his past fight. For me, I thought he looked slow in his past couple of fights. He did not look slow tonight. We know who he was in there against, a guy who is very fast, agile… and the thing about Machida is too that Machida shows these signs of brilliance, like he threw that flying knee that hit Rampage hard in the stomach and you know Rampage is a human being. No matter how tough he is, you know he’s hurt and instead of trying to kick the body again cause you know you hurt him, he starts running around again and moving away, and you don’t win fights like that. I know that some people are saying, ‘Machida won the fight and you need to watch it again.’ He lands maybe five or six punches in the third round, you know, that doesn’t win you a fight.”
White went on to say that he does not know what is next for Rampage right now.
Whatever is next for the actor/fighter, this win moved him one step closer to a shot at 205-pound gold and the winner of March’s fight between Rashad Evans and current light heavyweight champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.