UFC 135 Fight Card Primer: Rampage Jackson vs. Jon Jones

UFC 135 weigh-ins at the Pepsi Center on September 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. via UFC.com

At UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage, Jon Jones (13-1; 7-1 UFC) will defend his title against challenger Quinton Jackson (32-8; 7-2 UFC). This Light Heavyweight title fight will be the main event of the evening. According to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, Jones is currently the #1 Light Heavyweight in the world, while Rampage is slightly below him at #4. 

What started out as somewhat of a make-up fight has turned into a heated affair over the past weeks. Originally, Jones was set to make his first title defense against Rashad Evans, but a mysterious on-again off-again injury caused Jones to drop out of that fight, only to agree to fight Rampage instead. In recent weeks, things have become heated between the two with Rampage first accusing Jones of having spies in his camp, then beginning a war of words against the young champion. This seems to have lit a fire under Rampage that hasn't been seen in some time. He'll look to become only the second man to regain his title in the history of the Light Heavyweight division.

How do these two stack up?

Jones: 24 years old | 6'4" | 84.5" reach
Jackson: 33 years old | 6'1" | 73" reach

What have these two done recently?

Jones: W - Mauricio Rua (TKO) | W - Ryan Bader (Sub) | W - Vladimir Matyushenko (TKO)
Jackson: W - Matt Hamill (UD) | W - Lyoto Machida (SD) | L - Rashad Evans (UD)

 UFC 135 Video Interviews | Weigh-In Results | Live Analysis | Results

How did these two get here?

Jones comes in as the red hot new young superstar of the UFC. His rise to the top received a sudden burst earlier this year when a Rashad Evans injury led to a surprise Jones title shot. He made the most of that shot, dominating Shogun Rua to become the new champion. Since then, he's rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, first through what some perceive to be ducking Evans, now in the spying allegations from Rampage. Many think he is the man to finally give the division the stability it has lacked since Rampage knocked out Chuck Liddell, but for that to happen, he needs to get past this first title defense.

Rampage has had a very rocky time since losing the Light Heavyweight title to Forrest Griffin. He followed that loss up with a now notorious public breakdown of sorts. He looked to get back on track, only to announce his retirement from MMA to pursue a film career. That retirement didn't last long, and although he's 2-1 since that time, he has not looked particularly motivated. Until now. Whether it's the title shot or something personal about Jones, Rampage seems dedicated once again, and a dedicated Rampage is one of the best in the world. 

Why should you care?

Alongside Anderson Silva, Jones is one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters in MMA today. And when Rampage is on, he will absolutely bring it as well. In short, this fight is going to be awesome. Emotion, anger, the young star looking for a legacy, the veteran looking for one last run at the top - it's all here, and it's a thing of beauty. Watch it.


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