UFC President Dana White and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson engaged in a very public feud last year when Jackson chose to focus more on his fledgling acting career than his career as a fighter. Jackson starred as B.A. Baracus in The A-Team movie, pushing back his highly publicized fight with Rashad Evans and thus drawing White’s ire.
Public name calling ensued and Jackson toyed with retirement, eventually deciding to finish his contract with a fight against Evans; now many months after they were originally intended to meet. Jackson lost the bout and, with the exception of a few bright moments, looked uninspired in the fight.
“Rampage” has since expressed regret for splitting his focus between acting and fighting, saying that his uncharacteristic performance was likely a result of doing so. He takes on former champ Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida this weekend in his first outing since losing to Evans and has been pledging that his full attention has remained on Machida and this weekend’s bout. Speaking with MMAJunkie.com recently, Dana White said that he is unsurprised by Jackson’s newfound career focus, as the majority of his wealth is made in fighting.
“The reality is this is where he makes his money,” White said. “The money isn’t in the movie business unless you’re (George) Clooney. I think he’s taking it serious.”
White asserted that Jackson’s mostly-flat performance against Evans can be attributed to the added distractions that came with promoting the movie.
“How could it not affect you traveling that much and doing all the stuff he had to do for that movie?” White asked. “Doing this stuff is hard. You train for the fight, then you have to go out and do the media, answer the same questions over and over and over again. A movie is 10 times that. He had to travel all over the world promoting that movie.”
With those added distractions gone, White believes Jackson when he says that his full focus has been on the fight; telling MMAJunkie that, by all appearances, “Rampage” seems well prepared for the bout.
“He looked good,” White said. “The weigh-ins are tomorrow, but he looks lean. He looks like he’s in great shape. I saw him backstage. He didn’t really talk. He seems pretty focused to me.”
A prepared Jackson is a dangerous, one according to White, (and just about everyone else you ask) and if his assessment of Jackson’s shape is correct, the UFC boss believes fans can expect a vintage performance from “Rampage” come Saturday night.
“He can knock you out with either hand,” White said. “His takedowns are great. He can ground and pound you. As long as he’s focused on fighting and in his training camp doing what he needs to do, ‘Rampage’ is nasty.”