Apparently Jon Jones wasn’t the UFC’s first choice to replace Rashad Evans at UFC 128. Light heavyweight champ Shogun Rua told Tatame that Rampage Jackson was offered the opportunity first but turned it down.
“The UFC thought in other alternatives, but it didn’t worked out. For some reason he (Jackson) didn’t accepted it.”
Shogun didn’t know why Rampage turned it down, but my guess is he still remembers what happened the last time he wasn’t fully prepared to fight him.
Image via Scott Peterson for MMA Weekly
Update: Rampage Jackson confirms he turned down the fight and explains why to MMA Junkie.
“I don’t care who the opponent is. I’m not taking a fight on four weeks’ notice.”
“It’s not enough time to get ready for a five-round fight. Dana knows that. And ‘Shogun,’ he’s a fighter, and he should know that. He shouldn’t even go and say [expletive] like that with him being a fighter. He saw me at the fight this weekend. Everybody saw how big I am.”
“I’m 250 pounds, and I would have to lose 45 pounds in, what, three or four weeks? The first time I fought ‘Shogun,’ I was injured going into that fight, and it’s haunted me all the way up to now. I always believed the second time I fight ‘Shogun’ that I’m going to be close to 100 percent as possible.
“I don’t want to have a rushed camp and have a last-minute fight to fight someone who’s already beaten me. Even if they offered me Forrest (Griffin) or Rashad (Evans) in four weeks, I can’t take that fight because I’m too big.”
Can’t blame him for that. He’s only going to get one more shot at the most to beat Shogun. No sense in not being 100% for it.