Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has often said that he planned on being finished fighting by the time he is 35 years old. Many fans and pundits thought he might be done as soon as his UFC 144 bout with Ryan Bader was over.
The latter surely isn’t happening, and the former is in doubt now as well.
Despite a serious knee injury that hampered his training for and his performance against Bader, following the fight, Rampage sounded as if he had found the fountain of youth to his career.
“I know I’m getting to the end of my career cause I said I don’t want to fight past 35, but honestly, before I hurt my knee, you guys should have seen how I was training. I was looking like a superstar, then I hurt my knee,” he commented at the UFC 144 post-fight press conference.
“Now I know what I can do if I come in at 100 percent. I think I got a lot of years and I’m ready to put on more shows,” he continued.
“I heal up fast; I’m like a werewolf. I wasn’t even supposed to fight here. I heal up really fast. I’ll be back soon.”
With that, Rampage declared that not only is he not done fighting, it sounds like he might be willing to grant himself an extension beyond the 35-years-old deadline he set.
Rampage has a long history fighting in Japan, being one of the mainstays of the Pride organization for a number of years. He has another, more personal, connection as well.
“My kids are from Japan; my kids’ grandparents are from there,” he said in the lead-up to the fight. So a knee injury wasn’t going to stop him. It hindered him, but it didn’t stop him.
“I’m not surprised that I lost the fight,” Rampage revealed. “I tried to keep it secret. I injured my knee pretty bad and my doctor told me not to fight. I didn’t need surgery or nothing, but he just told me it wasn’t a good idea to fight.”
He never offered the injury up as an excuse. Rampage is a fighter, that’s what he does, and he’s always seen fighting through the injuries as part of the job.
This time, it may or may not have cost him the fight. It surely didn’t help matters against a former Ultimate Fighter winner that has been making waves in the UFC light heavyweight division.
But Rampage the fighter is born of the Japanese fight culture. And in the Japanese fight culture, a fighter is often revered as much for his heart in trying to overcome the odds, or perhaps even more so, than for actually winning the fight.
“I just wanted to put on an exciting fight. I’m just happy to make it here and try to put on a show for the Japanese fans.”