Rundown of UFC 135 post-fight news and notes…
— Denver was definitely excited to see the UFC again. 16,344 fans filled the Pepsi Center for a $2 million live gate.
— Jon Jones and Rampage Jackson each picked up $75,000 Fight of the Night bonuses. Josh Koscheck was awarded the KO bonus for hammerfisting Matt Hughes into the canvas. Nate Diaz earned the submission bonus for tapping out Takanori Gomi with an armbar.
— Well, Rampage fared better than Shogun Rua, Ryan Bader, Vladamir Matyushenko and everyone else Jon Jones has faced, but it wasn’t nearly enough to pick up the victory over the light heavyweight champ. Rampage was obviously disappointed, but not too bummed with a big paycheck on the way.
“It is what it is. I trained really hard. I can’t beat myself up,” Jackson said. “I’m disappointed because I wanted to make my boxing coach [proud]. I wanted to be his first world champion. Other than that, I’m just happy because I made a lot of money,” Jackson said with a big smile.
Despite the fairly one-sided victory, Jon Jones found the fight to be a learning experience.
“[The fight taught] me a lot about my skill set and things I need to work on,” Jones said at the post-fight press conference. “Sometimes, instead of defending technically, I kind of ran like a little girl and turned my back. So, I need to work on my slipping and evading. But [Jackson] hits so hard, I just got out of the way like a smart man would.”
He also told reporters how he really feels about Rampage.
“I told Quinton that I admire him and respect him,” said Jones. “I tried to play it off like we were two lions — and we were — but the truth is that I look up to him. I’ve been watching him a long time. I basically told him that I loved him and it was an honor to fight him. It was just 100 percent respect. I’m sure we’ll be cool from now on.”
The person Jon Jones didn’t want to talk about though was Rashad Evans. He tried to shut those questions down, but ended up saying a few words about him anyways.
“I will say this about Rashad,” Jones said. “He does not have number. He’s not even close to having my number. Me and Rashad, we sparred a few times, and every time we sparred I know what could have happened. He talks about one day at practice where he held me down and he lives that day in his head every day.”
Rashad didn’t give any interviews backstage that I’ve seen, but he did make it clear talking to Joe Rogan after the fight ended that he still wants a piece of his former teammate.
“I thought Jon Jones looked impressive. I’m glad that the UFC put it together and I can’t wait to get the chance to fight him,” Evans told color commentator Joe Rogan.
Word is Jones was limping around backstage after the fight, but claims it was only sore shins. Time will tell if that or Rashad Evans’ thumb will delay their title fight. Either way, I doubt we’ll see it until early 2012.
— Dana White says Jon Jones is now top 3 pound-for-pound.
— Guess who showed up knocking on Jon Jones’ door after the fight? None other than Steven Seagal! Yes, Seagal was in attendance tonight at the Pepsi Center to watch Jones get down with Rampage in the main event. Seagal told Ariel Helwani after the fight that he wasn’t particularly impressed with Jones’ performance and word is he wanted to speak with Jones after the fight, but Jones said he turned him away out of respect for his coaches.
“I didn’t think that would be a good idea. My training staff works very hard on me and I’m their prodigy. I wouldn’t want to disrespect them by welcoming in someone’s else master into our room, our house, our family,” explained Jones.
— Matt Hughes refused to say he would retire following his loss to Josh Koscheck, only that the UFC could “put [him] on the shelf” for awhile, but Dana White thinks its probably the end of the road for the former welterweight champ.
“I think he’s going to retire. I just don’t think Hughes wants to use the word retire,” White said during the UFC 135 press conference. “I just talked to him out in the hallway and he’s going to fly out to Las Vegas (home of UFC’s corporate offices) in the next month or so, and sit down and talk. I’m pretty sure he’s going to hang it up.”
Perhaps Dana White can talk him into it with one of those cushy jobs VP of Fun Chuck Liddell has, but I’m sure Hughes would much rather go out with a win. We’ll see.
— It wasn’t the prettiest fight you’ve ever seen but Mark Hunt got the job done against Ben Rothwell tonight. Interestingly, Dana White revealed that they actually offered Hunt money not to fight when they inherited his PRIDE contract, but Hunt turned it down.
“When we bought Pride, he came as part of the Pride deal,” White said at Saturday night’s UFC 135 post-fight press conference. “It was back and forth and basically I was just like…we’ll just pay you off. We know you’re in the Pride deal. And Mark Hunt said ‘No, I want to come. I want to fight.'”
“Let me tell you what, man, he did it,” White said. “The guy’s got a ton of heart and I have a lot of respect for him.”
“I’m glad that he opted to come here and fight and I’m proud that he fought in the UFC,” said White. “I asked him to come here tonight. If he won’t say it, I will.”
That’s pretty cool, but you know what’s cooler? Mark Hunt going for an armbar. You definitely don’t see that everyday.
— If Jon Jones’ victory over Rampage Jackson left you wanting a super fight with Anderson Silva, you’re going to be waiting awhile. Dana White and Jones manager Malki Kawa says it isn’t happening anytime soon.
“The problem is this [light heavyweight] division is stacked,” White said. “He has a lot of fights ahead of him. The guys who have been fighting at 205 have those slots and they deserve the respect of a title fight before any superfight.
“And, a lot of people don’t really think about this, [Silva] is 37 years old.”
“Any fight that interests Jon is a fight that interests me, but that fight is nowhere on the horizon,” said Malki Kawa, Jones’ manager. “At some point in time in the future, Jon will be fighting in the biggest fights in UFC history.
“But we’re not looking at that. We’re looking at Rashad [Evans] and the other 205-ers.”
— It’s unclear what’s next for Rampage, but he wants a rematch with Shogun Rua in Japan.
“It would be very special because I’ve got a lot of respect for Shogun,” Jackson said. “That’s been one that’s haunted me for a long time. So I want to rematch Shogun in Japan.”
Dana White didn’t rule it out, but says he needs to see what happens with the Dan Henderson fight in Nov. first. My guess is they’ll try to do that fight if Shogun loses.