With the amount of attention he’s drawn to the UFC 144 fight card just for returning to fight in Japan, it’s a wonder that former Pride FC superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had to aggressively lobby his way onto the card.
Having made his bones in the cavernous space of the Saitama Super Arena during Pride’s heyday, Jackson holds a special affinity for Japanese fight fans and they for him. The UFC is paying homage to the now-defunct Pride FC by taking their fighting roadshow to the SSA, which is sure to draw former Pride spectators.
That alone is enough to get Jackson’s blood flowing.
“I’m really excited about going back to Japan, there’s no secret about that,” he said. “I love that place. I think I was so popular in Japan because of my fighting style. You know, I was young, I didn’t care, I just wanted to fight and put on exciting fights for the crowd and they love that type of stuff because pro wrestling is real popular there and I kind of brought that factor to MMA.”
When pushed to compare Japanese fight culture to that of America, Jackson has a hard time hiding his opinion that fight fans in The Land of the Rising Sun have a better handle on what this MMA thing is really about than do their Stateside counterparts.
“In America, everybody’s worried about who’s gonna win, this and that. ‘Who’s winning? Who’s winning?’ It ain’t all about that. It’s entertainment at the end of the day,” Jackson said. “The fans, they want to see an entertaining fight and the (Japanese) fans got that. In America, I don’t think we have it yet. We’re still light years behind the Japanese fans and people that watch fights. That’s my opinion.”
UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson goes down tomorrow night; check back on FightLine then for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.