The hand injury that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson sustained this past Saturday at UFC 130 is serious – but perhaps not serious enough to stall his career.
As light-heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones (13-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) tells it, Jackson (32-8 MMA, 7-2 UFC) will get a shot at his belt.
"I'll be fighting Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson next," Jones told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) on Thursday. "I'm not allowed to discuss the date because I didn't sign a contract, but yeah, it will be very soon."
The announcement may come as a surprise to those familiar with Jackson's recent health history. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended him this week following his lopsided decision win over Matt Hamill at UFC 130, which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The former champ had to get his left hand X-rayed and could be suspended until Nov. 25 if an injury was found. He can, however, gain clearance before that from an orthopedic doctor.
Jackson said he first hurt his hand while horsing around with teammates over the holidays and re-injured it in camp. The fight with Hamill did little but aggravate it further. However, it appears that the severity of the injury, which UFC president Dana White said could give Lyoto Machida or Rashad Evans the next title shot, has been downgraded.
White also said the title shot was Jackson's should he be healthy by fall.
"Bones" has wrestled with his own injuries, or specifically, one injury. He was expected to undergo surgery on a long-bothersome hand ligament, which scratched a potential fight with Evans at UFC 133. The promotion instead booked Evans to meet standout Phil Davis at the Aug. 6 event. Soon afterward, Jones caught fans by surprise when he announced that his doctor ruled against surgery and that he expected to return to the cage in the fall. But officials said it was too late to scratch Evans' UFC 133 headliner with Davis.
Jones said Thursday that his hand is "totally fine" and will be good to go for a fight with Jackson.
When would he like to return to the cage?
"September," he said.
If Jones gets his way, two options may accommodate him. "UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou" is slated for Sept. 17 in New Orleans, and UFC 135 is targeted for Sept. 24 in Denver. However, the financial upside is far greater for Jones with a pay-per-view event since he receives a cut of its profits.
So, UFC 135 appears a likely option.
If the champ gets his way.