Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is looking to rebound from a loss to Rashad Evans tonight when he takes on Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida at UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida in a bout that will propel one fighter into or very near a title shot.
“I’m fighting for respect and I’m fighting for honor,” said Jackson. “I’m not worried about Machida or his kicks or his punches. I’m not worried about it. Probably gotta take a few punches to give some punches and I like that. I don’t mind getting punched.”
Jackson has been deriding Machida for his elusive, countering fighting style and promised not to get sucked into “The Dragon’s” game tonight.
“I’m gonna fight my fight, I’m not fighting his fight. At all. I’m fighting my fight. I just hope Machida comes to fight and considers the fans, and put on an exciting fight. I don’t care what Machida says… I’m gonna do my talking in the cage.”
Despite the serious implications of the bout, “Rampage” joked that he is having a hard time getting excited at the prospect of facing Machida; a fighter he deemed “boring” during a recent appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
“I’ve watched tapes of him fight. I can’t stay up. He’s so boring I go to sleep, man,” Jackson said of preparing to face Machida. “It’s hard. No disrespect, but he has an awkward style. He does karate. He knows MMA, but he stands like eight feet way. He holds the record for being punched the least because he stands so far away you can’t hit him.”
During a recent appearance on the Sherdog Radio Network’s It’s Time program with UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer, Jackson revealed his desire to revert to the mentality that made him a legend during his tenure as a fighter in the PRIDE Fighting Championships.
Claiming that the increased income that comes along with fighting for the UFC had him partially distracted, Jackson said that he is now looking to compete for something more important than money.
“This fight right here has nothing to do with money,” Jackson told Buffer. “This fight right here is all about honor and respect. Since I’ve been in the UFC, I have been all about money because quite honestly, I’ve made more money in the UFC than I ever did in other shows. It’s really easy to get beside yourself and be all about the money, all about the money. But I remember back in my Pride days, I used to just go and fight for honor. … I want to go back to my old Pride days when I used to fight to put on a show.”
“Rampage” has made several public comments concerning his disdain for Machida’s elusive fighting style, and he reiterated his stance thereof when speaking with Buffer.
“Much respect to him as a person,” Jackson said. “As a fighter, I really don’t like his fighting style. If anybody knows about me, as soon as I get in the Octagon, I come to fight. I really don’t like people who fight in [Machida’s] manner. How are you going to fight somebody from a distance? That is one of the things I’ve been working on a lot: not fighting his fight. I’m going to fight my fight. I don’t care what Machida does or what he thinks he’s going to do. It’s all about what I’m going to do.”
Machida is coming off of a loss himself, having lost his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua this past May via first round knockout. That defeat marked Machida’s first as a professional, and Jackson feels that the knockout showed Machida’s inability to take a punch.
“I watched that fight with Shogun,” Jackson told MMAFighting.com. “No disrespect to Machida, but he was punching at the same time. They punched at the same time, and me being a fighter, I could tell that that wasn’t a really strong punch that dropped him. It comes with a price, not getting hit. So that tells me that if he’s not getting hit in fights, he damn sure ain’t getting hit in sparring.
“I let people hit me in sparring sometimes to get used to it,” he continued. “Some people say they don’t mind getting hit. I actually like getting hit. It doesn’t bother me, somebody punching me in my face.”
Jackson has only suffered three losses in his career via KO or TKO, with the first being to Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE Final Conflict in November of 2003. Jackson noted that being knocked out affected him in his next fight with Ikuhisa Minowa.
“I remember my first time getting knocked out by Wanderlei, and then my next fight I didn’t fight the same,” he said. “Even me, I was trying to be elusive. It’s one of those things, we’re going to see what type of mentality he has. Some people can overcome it, but average people can’t overcome it.
“I don’t care about his fights and last performance. That’s like the last of my worries to be honest. But there’s a reason why he doesn’t get hit that much. But when he does get hit, he goes down. We all see that.”
While most fighters promise an “exciting” and potential “fight of the night” when heading into their bouts, Jackson told ESPN Sportscenter earlier this week that the fight may be a disaster.
“The thing that really concerns me is that it could be a disaster,” said Jackson said. “It could be a boring fight. I’m trying to make it more exciting because I like exciting fights. But his style is boring to me, and he’s coming off a loss where he got knocked out for the first time, and a lot of times when people get knocked out for the first time they’re gun shy.”
UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida takes place tonight from The Palace of Auburn Hills in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, Michigan. As always, FightLine.com will provide live coverage of the event.