Source: Fighter’s Only
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is known for being one of the most unpredictable and entertaining fighters competing in Mixed Martial Arts today. Jackson has been in the spotlight over the last year for temporarily leaving MMA to pursue acting, a choice which resulted in a very public war of words with UFC President Dana White and eventually “Rampage’s” short-lived retirement from MMA. He is currently back in the UFC fold and preparing to take on his nemesis Rashad Evans at UFC 114 but Jackson still has issues with his employer; something that he spoke about, in addition to his thoughts on Evans as an opponent and the losses that haunt him, in a recent interview with Fighters Only magazine.
“Well I would have preferred to do The Ultimate Fighter against Machida, that would have fixed the problem back in the day, from square one. Just ‘X’ Rashad out because he don’t have the damn belt. but Machida’s English isn’t so good, so I had to fight Rashad,” said Jackson when asked if he would rather be fighting directly for the title he once held. “He is all cocky thinking he done something good by being on The Ultimate Fighter but I’m like dude you just got the knocked the hell out. You are on The Ultimate Fighter by default because the guy who knocked you out don’t speak English. That’s what I am dealing with. Its annoying actually.
“I feel like fighting Rashad is a step backwards, because he doesn’t have the belt anymore. But if things go right, this will be a nice warm-up fight for “Shogun” [Rua]. God willing if everything works out it will be nice. Everybody knows I took time off, it would be stupid to go right into a big title fight with “Shogun” so this will be a good test for me. If I lose to Rashad I don’t even deserve to get my belt back!”
“Rampage” fought the current UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion before at PRIDE Total Elimination 2005 and was knocked out in the first round. Jackson claims that he did not take the fight with Rua seriously and that this is what resulted in the loss; the very same mistake he says he made in his fight against Forrest Griffin.
“He crashed me,” Jackson said of “Shogun.” “Right away, boom, took me out. He hurt my rib with knees. Totally unexpected, he jumped on me right away. I am trying to pace myself so I don’t get tired in the first round and Shogun just jumped on me. That fight has haunted me all this time. Now it still haunts me and its time to get him back. I have a similar thing with Forrest. I didn’t train properly, I got injured in the camp. I got those healed up, but I was way overweight, didn’t train. Believed in my own crap, ‘I’m the champion, I just won the undisputed belt!'”
Those losses and his current opponent’s trash-talk seem to be Jackson’s biggest motivation to continue competing. As he puts it, “Now I want to go get Rashad. Nice warm-up fight, kick his ass. Fight “Shogun”, redeem myself for my sleep, for my mind. Then go and beat the hell out of Forrest, retire him.”
Speaking of retirement, Jackson said that he is still unhappy with the UFC and would still be retired if it were not for pressure from his management.
“Really to be honest its all my management, they wanted me to work things out,” said “Rampage.” “It’s still hard dealing with the UFC and stuff now, you know? If I had my way I still would be retired and do my own thing.”
Jackson himself has admitted that he does not like training and has to force himself to do so. It will be interesting to see if he has truly found the motivation to push himself in training in order to perform well against Evans. At his best, Jackson is champion material and can give trouble to the best 205-pounders in the world. At his worst, he loses close decisions to Forrest Griffin and barely takes out Keith Jardine. Jackson is unpredictable and apparently easily put off from training or taking fights seriously. All of the outside stress and attention paid to his relationship with the UFC could be detrimental to his future performances inside the cage. Those facts, coupled with the fact that he says he would rather be retired than compete anymore in MMA, do not seem to bode well for Jackson’s future. For good or ill, we will likely see on May 29th how much “Rampage” is going to dedicate himself to the sport.