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Rampage Jackson likely to get next shot at Jon Jones, despite lackluster UFC 130

Jackson disappointed by not getting a knockout but improves to 4-1 in last five fights

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Sam Morris

Quinton Jackson hits Matt Hamill with a forearm during their bout at UFC 130 Saturday, May 28, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jackson won by decision.

UFC 130 Main and Co-Main Events

Frank Mir hits Roy Nelson with a kick during their bout at UFC 130 Saturday, May 28, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mir won by decision. Launch slideshow »

UFC 130

Travis Brown celebrates his knockout of Stefan Struve during their fight at UFC 130 Saturday, May 28, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Launch slideshow »

Seconds after snapping out of his bulldog mentality for the fight and minutes before putting on his jokester persona for the post-fight press conference, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson shared a revealing moment at UFC 130.

As Jackson walked out of the octagon following a unanimous decision — but unexciting — victory over Matt Hamill, he had a question for the reporters sitting in the front of press row.

“The fight wasn’t that bad, was it?” Jackson asked.

No, it wasn’t — at least not to the person who matters the most. UFC President Dana White said Jackson’s win, which all three judges scored 30-27, was enough for him to likely get the next light heavyweight title shot against Jon Jones before the end of the year.

White thought the boos raining down on Jackson were unjust.

“Considering the time Rampage had off, he looked good,” White said. “He dominated.”

That’s what Jackson wanted to hear. As much as he says he’s not fighting for anyone but himself and his family at this point of his career, a part of Jackson is still sensitive about the opinion of the mixed martial arts community.

He gave a rare but brief glimpse into that Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and admitted the fight against Hamill didn’t go as planned.

“I wanted a knockout,” Jackson said. “You guys know who I am.”

That’s easier said than done, though, considering Hamill has only lost via TKO once in his six-year career. Jackson, who also noted he hurt his hand during this fight’s training camp, had to settle for picking Hamill apart during their striking exchanges.

A small peek at Hamill’s face after the fight proved he was successful. Hamill had cuts and swelling on his forehead, above his left eye and below his lip. It looked more like Hamill had just survived an all-out brawl than a calculated, and at times, sluggish match.

“I don’t think anyone is going to knock him out,” Jackson said. “He is tough. I think Matt can make it a long way in this sport because, I’m telling you, I was trying to knock his head off.”

Jackson, once known as one of the most dangerous strikers in MMA, hasn’t won via knockout since a UFC 92 win against Wanderlei Silva two-and-a-half years ago. But he’s gone 4-1 in that stretch, which is apparently good enough for a title shot.

Timing is on Jackson’s side as the only man he lost to, Rashad Evans, was supposed to face Jones but took a bout against Phil Davis when the champion announced he was undergoing hand surgery. Jones later opted against the procedure and will be ready to fight this fall, placing Jackson as the opponent who makes the most sense.

“I don’t think anybody can deny, no matter what his performance was tonight, he’s one of the top two or three in the world” White said, “He is — period.”

But will Jackson’s pure talent prove enough to give Jones, who at 23 years old looks like one of the top fighters in the world, a challenge? Jackson has admitted to a lack of excitement and motivation recently.

After beating Hamill, Jackson said he would hypothetically forego a chance at Jones and the light heavyweight championship if he could secure a higher-paying bout.

“I’m all about that money, homie,” Jackson said. “Honestly, I want to be the highest-paid fighter in the world. That’s why I come and try to excite people every time, try to make them laugh or slam folks. I’ve been trying to give Dana little hints like, ‘look at me, I’m very marketable.’”

White is already well aware. Jackson is one of the biggest names in the sport and doesn’t often lose.

He’s set the standards high for himself, White said, which is another reason to block out those who weren’t pleased Saturday.

“Every event, we hear people boo,” White said. “It’s like people want guys to get in football stances, run at each other and throw punches.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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