One of MMA’s biggest stars, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has become openly cynical in regards to many aspects of the fight game. Sometimes it’s about the money, or the treatment he receives from his bosses and sometimes, often times, it’s about the fans. Not all MMA fans, mind you, but many Stateside spectators who have a much more aggressive attitude than the reverent, respectful Japanese fans that Jackson spent most of his career competing for.
Rampage will soon return to compete in the Land of the Rising Sun for the first time since 2006, facing young contender Ryan Bader at UFC 144, which will take place in late February at his old stomping ground: the Saitama Super Arena. Speaking at a press conference held today in Japan to promote the fight, Jackson revealed his excitement to again put on a show for the Japanese fans (props to MMAFighting for the quotes).
“Back when I was fighting here, I had so much energy,” Jackson said. “I just wanted to put on a good show for the fans because all the energy they give. In America, you’re under so much pressure to win at all costs because the fans talk s*** to you if you lose, even if it’s a good, exciting fight. In Japan, it’s just a different energy. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take more chances and not care because it’s all about the crowd. I react to the crowd. I don’t care about the people watching on TV.”
Jackson even teased that he might be motivated to put on a better show than in recent bouts just by virtue of the crowd’s energy. All he cares about, win or lose, is being exciting for his favorite crowd – whether other fans like it or not.
“The only thing that matters when he steps in the cage in Japan is that he comes in to put on an exciting show,” he said. “I’m all about putting on an exciting fight in Japan. One thing I love about Japanese fans and why I love them the most is that they don’t care if you win or lose. All they care is if you have samurai spirit, that you put on a good fight. That’s why Japanese fans are my favorite. And American fans are jealous that I say that all the time.”