Photo by Al Bello, Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.
The 24 year old Jones won the title by crushing Mauricio Rua at UFC 128 in March of this year. He had been expected to make his initial title defense against former teammate Rashad Evans at UFC 133 in Philadelphia. However due to an injury to his hand that was initially thought to require surgery, Jones backed out of that fight. Evans will face Phil Davis instead.
Jones told MMA Junkie the news about the Jackson fight:
"I'll be fighting Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson next." Jones told MMAjunkie on Thursday. "I'm not allowed to discuss the date because I didn't sign a contract, but yeah, it will be very soon."
Rampage came out of his UFC 130 bout with Matt Hamill nursing a broken left hand and could be medically suspended until November. If he gets clearance from an orthopedic doctor, he could be cleared to fight sooner.
As always news of a fight based on a "verbal agreement" from only one fighter's camp should be taken with a grain of salt. It's entirely possible that Jones has agreed to the bout but Jackson has not.
UPDATE: MMA Mania has more details:
Jon Jones is apparently close to making his return to action to defend his light heavyweight title for the first time, as he may be penciled in to battle Quinton Jackson at the upcoming UFC 135 event, which is currently rumored for Sept. 24 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
A source close to one of the fight camps alerted MMAmania.com to the news earlier today, but stressed that obstacles exist. Jones, who is still resting a hand injury, must first be cleared by his physician before getting the green light to compete.
The same goes for "Rampage," who was recently medically suspended until June 28 but could stretch as far as Nov. 25 unless he gets clearance from an orthopedic doctor.