(UFC 98 post-event press conference footage, courtesy of CageWriter.)
Confirming what many of us had already assumed, Dana White announced at Saturday night’s press conference that new UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will make his first title defense against former champ Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Though the match isn’t tied to a specific event yet, White also announced (perhaps not coincidentally) that the UFC would be holding a show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on October 24th.
So, quick MMA rumor math: Machida will be fighting Rampage later this year + Rampage will be one of the coaches on TUF 10 = We might be seeing the Dragon lead a team of heavyweights on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
According to Dana White, the coaches for TUF 10 will be announced early next month. ("We start filming on the 1st and there’s a media day on like the 2nd or 3rd. All your questions will be answered then.") For the record, Machida is on-board with the idea, telling reporters: "I’d like to sure, it would be great." And why not? He’d get to build his personal star power while exposing a basic-cable audience to Machida Karate. We can’t wait to see a group of hulking former football-players strapping on gis and doing katas in unison at 5 a.m.
The obvious question that arises — which Rogan and Goldie touched on at the end of Saturday’s broadcast — is if Quinton Jackson would pose any different challenges to Machida than Evans did. Both Sugar and Rampage took their strong wrestling bases and added killer hands. But in recent fights, Jackson has ignored his wrestling and relied only on his boxing. Rampage’s power makes him dangerous at all times, but if he hopes to make a fight against Machida halfway competitive, a straight striking match is not the way to go.
MMA study group discussion topic: Do you think Rampage will do better against Machida than Evans did, or will he just be the next body to fall in the Machida Era?