HDNet’s Inside MMA caught up with former light heavyweight champion and current number one contender, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, to talk about his upcoming title fight against Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 135: Jones vs Rampage in September. “Rampage” discussed some of his concerns for the future of the sport, citing Greg Jackson’s fighters in particular as being part of the problem, as “Rampage” believes they come into fights looking to wrestle out decisions as opposed to looking to do damage or finish the fight.
“I’m getting bored with these opponents. Win or lose, I’m getting bored, because these guys got these elaborate gameplans, want to take me down and wrestle me because they think my ground is suspect.” The challenger went on. “MMA, we evolved so fast. Pretty soon we’re going to be like boxing. Keep fighting this way. Nobody’s going to watch. I come for the belt and stuff like that, and I’m still going to go out there, all gung-ho, go for it, and take chances. We fight in the cage. They lock the cage behind us.”
Jackson went on, saying Jones will not fight him like a man, and he then addressed fans and critics that may take away from his recent performances. “We got fans talking I haven’t knocked nobody out since Wanderlei. Cause Wanderlei come to fight. Chuck come to fight. Those people come to fight. I could have easily got knocked out by Chuck or Wanderlei. It’s a risk you take, but those guys gained my respect.”
When asked about the public perception created by him starring in the recent A-Team remake, as well as when praised for his most recent fight, “Rampage” answered. “People don’t understand how motivated I am. This is my career. This is my job. Yeah, I’m not going to be as excited to fight people like Matt Hamill. I’m not going to be as excited about fighting a wrestler, someone who I know is going to take me down. For them to be MMA fans, and be fans of me, to watch me fight, they shouldn’t [have] been excited about that fight either. And the pay-per-view showed. I’m the one who lost in that fight, because at the end of the day, I fight for a career. I fight for money. And the pay-per-views, that’s where I make my cheddar. So I’m excited about fighting people who’s going to fight.”
Jackson’s thoughts on MMA having vulnerabilities entertainment-wise are compelling, and these concerns are shared by fans across the world. While many fans were hooked on the sport after seeing vicious knockouts or submissions, these same fans now watch a sport that sometimes sees its competitors becoming so accustomed to the ruleset and environment of the fights, they are able to focus on controlling their opponent to such a degree, even if just wrapped up against the fence, that the rounds will tick off without providing much of the UFC’s trademark action.
Jackson’s fight with another former champ Rashad Evans was heavily criticized for being anti-climactic after an unprecedented buildup saw the fighters trade jabs for months through the media, as well as take part in numerous confrontations on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Evans earned the decision by controlling Jackson against the fence for much of the fight, and while Jackson made a late-round comeback, it would not be enough to take the win away from Rashad.
To use boxing as a parallel, many MMA fans are former boxing fans that grew tired of the marathon-style technical showcases often seen in today’s championship boxing scene. An element of irony is that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is known for having some of the best hands in MMA, but for him to fear the sport taking a turn for the worse, shows the sport is changing so rapidly, that it seems every year or so the competitive landscape changes.
Just in Jackson’s division alone, two years ago, the 205-pound belt was captured by a man that with his speed, takedown defense, and exotic brand of karate, people were saying Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida was a champion that could go unbeaten for the rest of his career. Fast forward to present day, the belt is now held by Jon “Bones” Jones, a super-aggressive, wrestling ground-and-pound machine, with reach enough to throw spinning kicks and elbows with minimized risk, and athleticism enough to spring back and avoid damage.
“Rampage” will have a chance to order the division to his own designs when he challenges Jones for the title on September 24, in Denver, Colorado at UFC 135: Jones vs Rampage.
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