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Rampage showdown will happen - Shogun

ESPN staff
February 28, 2012
Rampage Jackson was unable to make too much of an impact on Ryan Bader, barring this slam © Getty Images

Mauricio Shogun Rua does not believe Rampage Jackson should be criticised for his performance at UFC 144, but he is willing to step forward as Jackson's next opponent.

Jackson failed to live up to his own hype in Japan, losing a one-sided decision to Ryan Bader after a failed weigh-in. Rampage claimed he had developed an injury, and Shogun insists it would be wrong to question him.

"It's hard to tell because we don't know what happens to each and every fighter," Shogun told Tatame. "I don't know if he got injured, if he was not feeling OK… It's hard to know, but Rampage is very professional and deserves to be respected."

Shogun and Rampage have met before, with the Brazilian delivering arguably the most brutal finish of either man's career. Rampage has since called for a rematch, and Shogun is willing to accept.

"The fight against Rampage will happen eventually," Shogun said. "It's inevitable and the UFC knows it. He won't retire before fighting me and neither will I.

"I don't discard Ryan Bader nor Rampage, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin… I guess there are many guys I could fight. Actually, soon I'll know more about it and I'll keep you posted. I'm sure I'll train focused on my opponent and he's going to be a hard one."

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