MMA Power Rankings -- LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Monday, Feb. 27
Because Quinton Jackson showed up for his UFC 135 bout with Jon Jones in the best shape of his fighting life, you had to wonder if he'd revert to bad habits ahead of a far less glamorous bout with Ryan Bader. Only Jackson and his camp knew about a knee injury suffered in training that ultimately led to him missing weight by five pounds, but Jackson didn't look like "Rampage" in his homecoming to Japan. He didn't prevent Bader from taking him down, and when on the ground, he struggled to get back up. Though he did score with a big slam in the second round that brought memories crashing back of the Ricardo Arona fight in Pride, Jackson had very few answers otherwise and lost a milquetoast decision.
That drops Jackson in this week's Power Rankings, while Bader's stock rises again. What lies in ahead for either guy becomes interesting. Jackson says he needs to heal his knee, but will fight again. Bader might have to wait a little bit for a top 10 opponent to open up. If Alexander Gustafsson beats Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in Sweden, that might be the fight to make. But there are guys like Stephan Bonnar hovering around, too, which would make sense.
Meanwhile, Thiago Silva will return after his yearlong suspension and face Igor Pokrajac on May 15. And the showdown that everybody has been waiting for between champ Jon Jones and his archrival Rashad Evans takes place on April 21. Things are heating up at 205 pounds.