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Rampage Jackson looks ahead after UFC 135 loss to Jon Jones

Jackson surprises Dana White by asking for next fight

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Jack Dempsey / AP

Referee Josh Rosenthal, right, looks on as Jon Jones, top, of Endicott, N.Y., pins Rampage Jackson, of Irvine, Calif., to the mat during the fourth round of their UFC light heavyweight title bout, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Denver. Jones won the fight with a knockout in the fourth round.

UFC 135

Jon Jones, left, of Endicott, N.Y., gets in a kick to the head of Rampage Jackson, of Irvine, Calif., during the first round of their UFC light heavyweight title bout, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Denver. Launch slideshow »

DENVER — Quinton “Rampage” Jackson made a grand entrance into the UFC 135 post-fight press conference after losing via fourth-round submission to Jon Jones.

Jackson arrived about 15 minutes late and interrupted the proceedings to offer an apology and reason for his tardiness.

“I had to take a shower because Jon Jones put some funk on me,” Jackson joked.

Yes, Jackson was in his usual jovial mood after losing in the evening’s main event. He even posed a question of his own to Jones and responded with a “that’s what she said” punch line before the champion could finish answering.

In the week leading up to the fight, Jackson said he was so confident he would win that he would be enraged if he failed to score a knockout victory. He was far from angry after the loss, but Jackson had a reason for it.

“I’m just happy because I made a lot of money,” he said.

The UFC doesn’t release fighters’ total compensation, but Jackson and Jones each made an additional $75,000 for earning “Fight of the Night” honors.

It was more than the money, however, that satisfied Jackson. He also felt he threw everything he could at Jones.

Jackson went through the most grueling training camp of his 11-year professional career to prepare for Jones. He even moved into the local MusclePharm Gym so he could work out three times a day at Denver's famous mile-high altitude.

“Rampage came in in great shape tonight,” UFC President Dana White said. “He came in to fight. He came in to knock him out, and those two went at it.”

Jackson had admittedly gone through the training motions and lacked motivation to fight in recent years. That wasn’t the case against Jones, and there’s reason to believe Jackson now has a renewed vigor in mixed martial arts.

Jackson typically only cares about ordering a pizza and having an alcoholic beverage to wash it down with after a fight. But following the loss to Jones, he requested a bout against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua when the UFC visits Japan — where both were stars in PRIDE — early next year.

Even when informed that Shogun is already scheduled to fight Dan Henderson at UFC 139 in November, Jackson still asked White for any matchup in Japan.

“I’m never going to argue with you when you say you want to fight,” White responded.

Jackson has retained his status as one of the UFC’s most popular fighters. In addition to his exciting slug-it-out style, Jackson possesses an uncanny ability to promote bouts when he feels necessary.

His back-and-forth banter with Jones made the UFC 135 main event one of the most hyped fights of the year. The two settled their differences after the bout when Jackson congratulated Jones and told him he would continue to be a great champion if he learned to remain humble. Jones appreciated the advice.

“I told Quinton that I admired him and respected him so much,” Jones said. “He and I tried to play it off like we were two lions. It was two lions, but the truth is, I look up to him a lot. I’ve been watching him for a long time.”

And, if Jackson’s post-fight demeanor is an indicator, Jones will be able to continue watching him for a long time to come.

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

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