On Instragram today, Rampage Jackson revealed the identity of the Light Heavyweight adversary he’ll be facing during his return fight at UFC 186. The Brazilian man, Fabio Maldonado, won five of his last nine fights, most recently winning Performance of the Night after his defeat of Hans Stringer at UFC 179. Rampage offered, “It’s official like a referee’s whistle just signed the bout agreement today, this dude is n trouble.”
“haha,” he added.
But while Rampage is probably chuckling at the futility of the wild-eyed man’s hopes for a victory, the real brainteaser is why the UFC has paired him against a lesser-known opponent who has the ability to beat him. At 36 years old, and after a three-loss run that completed his previous UFC career, it seems unnecessary to walk Rampage though the traditional gauntlet of minor opponents on the way to a legitimized title shot that may never come. That especially won’t happen if he loses to this fellow Fabio.
But Rampage has name recognition, and he enjoyed recent success in Bellator. And so, he probably still has enough credibility as a fighter to contribute to a true headline-quality fight. Perhaps he could even do it against an opponent like Rashad Evans, someone with real drawing power.
But that’s not going to happen. Because the UFC is like totally quirky and random.