("I trust this dude so much, I’d let him be my chauffeur if he needed a job. We could make it into a reality show and call it ‘Driving Mr. Dana.’")
Dana White helmed a Q&A session at Fort Hood last week ahead of the Fight for the Troops II show Saturday night and the UFC president dropped a handful of interesting tidbits during the hour-long forum.
Perhaps most noteworthy was White’s proclamation that former UFC light heavyweight kingpin Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will likely get the next crack at the winner of the UFC 128 championship bout between current champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Rashad Evans. White pointed to Jackson’s win over Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 — a fight many thought should have gone to "The Dragon" — as being the main factor in his title consideration. He also hinted that the winner of next month’s UFC 127 tilt between Ryan Bader and Jon Jones will likely get dibs on the winner of Jackson versus Evans or Rua.
"There are so many guys at 205. Rampage is probably next in line. Rampage is still in the mix. We’ve got Jon Jones and Ryan Bader fighting on the fifth [of February], which is going to be a great fight and catapults one of those guys to the top five.There’s so many great guys in the 205-pound division," White said. "The big problem has been ‘Shogun’s’ injury has been clogging up the division. Now he’s healthy and going to fight, and we’ll get everything rolling. [Shogun's] recovered now and back in training."
Surprisingly, White said that Machida, who just as easily could be sitting in Rampage’s place in line had the judges given him the split decision nod over Jackson, needs to win his upcoming UFC 129 bout in Toronto with Randy Couture, stopping short of saying that he could be on the chopping block if he loses.
"I didn’t think [Lyoto] was ever going to lose," White admitted. "Shogun beat him, and then he just lost to Rampage, too," he explained. "Now he’s fighting Randy Couture. It’s a must-win for him."
White also touched on several other topics, rumors and bout signings. Check the most pertinent ones out after the jump.
Here’s what Dana had to say:
On Nate Diaz, (who White confirmed will take on Rory MacDonald in Toronto) and his brother, Nick:
"Nate Diaz is on the Toronto card, too. I’m a big Nate Diaz fan. I like him a lot – him and his brother. The problem with Nick Diaz is Nick won’t play the game even [a little]. You can’t [flip off] the athletic commission. You can’t tell people – you have to play the game a little bit. When Nick Diaz wants to play just a little bit – and nobody’s telling him not to be who he is and not to act the way he wants, but you’ve got to play a little – when he does, we’d love to have him back in the UFC."
On Wanderlei Silva‘s next opponent:
"We were actually trying to hook [Silva] up with Brian Stann. He doesn’t want to fight Brian Stann. He’s like, ‘Fuck that; everybody is going to hate me if I fight Brian Stann. Everybody loves Brian Stann.’ But that’s the fight we’re trying to make right now."
On The Huntington Beach Badboy’s future in the Octagon:
"Tito’s got to win this fight to stay in the UFC. If he loses this fight, he’ll probably retire."
On TUF moving down to the smaller weight classes in the near future:
"It’s going to happen. We do two of these things a year. We’ll end up having those guys in one of these seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. We just added the weightclasses from the WEC. [Flyweight] will be the next one. The reason we didn’t have it before was that we didn’t have enough fights. We weren’t putting on enough fights to get all these fights on in these different weightclasses. Now that we’re going all over the world, it’s going to happen – next year."
On the likelihood that the UFC will do an outdoor show down the road:
"We’ve talked about it a few times. To be honest, it scares me to death, doing it outdoors. Look how beautiful it is today. Yesterday was freezing cold with wind. You never know. This is a tough sport to do outside. You can play a football game in this kind of weather, but fighting is a whole different ballgame. I guess if we really decided to do it, Hawaii would probably be the best place to do it. We’d do it in the Aloha Bowl."
On the possibility that we might see Royce Gracie compete at UFC Rio:
"We went down there to [Rio de Janeiro] to do a big press conference. [Royce] came with us and was part of the press conference. He’s still very close to the UFC, and we talk to him all the time. He still wants to fight one more time. He’s retired right now. He’s a good guy, though. We look at him as the father of this whole thing. We’ve got nothing but respect for him, and he’s still very much involved with us.
On Roy Nelson‘s next opponent:
"We’ve also got [Roy] ‘Big Country’ [Nelson] fighting Frank Mir. That fight’s going to happen, too. That’s a fun one."