MMAmania.com can confirm that a main event title fight between newly crowned UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans (13-0-1) and former 205-pound kingpin Quinton Jackson (29-7) could be added to the UFC 96 card at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on March 7.
Perhaps the only thing currently standing in the way is time -- both fighters face relatively tight turnarounds (nine weeks) since their most recent winning performances at UFC 92: "The Ultimate 2008" on Dec. 27.
If the showdown is eventually booked, it would be yet another attempt by the promotion to deliver UFC fans in the "Buckeye State" -- who appear to be spoiled with colossal main events -- another exciting showdown to cheer about.
UFC 82, the most recent pay-per-view (PPV) event to be held there, was a star-studded card that was packed with talent from the bottom up, featuring the 185-pound showdown between UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, and the last man to hold the Pride FC 183-pound belt, Dan Henderson.
In addition, Randy Couture blew the lid of the Nationwide Arena back at UFC 68 when he returned from retirement to score and improbable win over Tim Sylvia to capture the heavyweight title at the age of 43.
Despite the opportunity to reclaim his light heavyweight title, "Rampage" was initially lukewarm to the idea of facing Evans in his first fight since flatlining Wanderlei Silva with a thunderous left hook at UFC 92: "The Ultimate 2008."
The new-look Jackson, poised and confident thanks to a new training camp at Wolfslair in the UK, had his sights set on former title holder and opposing coach from The Ultimate Fighter 7 Forrest Griffin.
Griffin scored an unlikely unanimous decision win over Jackson at UFC 86 back in July. This was after Jackson toppled Marvin Eastman, Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson to reign supreme in the talent-rich 205-pound class. Jackson still feels like he was robbed by the judges and wants to prove that he is indeed the superior fighter.
It would have been a big money rematch, but more than likely not as big as a fight against "Sugar" now that Evans bested Griffin at UFC 92. Griffin also broke his left hand in the second round of that fight and apparently needed to have pins surgically inserted into his hand to help expedite the healing process.
In short, Jackson is the next in line for a shot at the gold with Griffin on the bench until at least the summer while the two other worthy challengers Thiago Silva and Lyoto Machida — set to collide at UFC 94: "St. Pierre vs Penn 2″ — determine who will be waiting for him should he prevail.
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