Fighting at UFC 144 in Japan is Personal to Rampage Jackson

February 20, 2012
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Quinton Rampage Jackson at UFC 135

When the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced it would hold an event in Japan for the first time in nearly 12 years, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson knew he wanted to be on the UFC 144 fight card.

Jackson made a name for himself competing in the Japanese-based Pride Fighting Championships.  He fought under the Pride banner for more than five years (2001-2006) accumulating highlight reel finishes and his two epic battles with Wanderlei Silva made him a fan favorite.

“I’m really excited about going back to Japan, there’s no secret about that. I love that place. I think I was so popular in Japan because of my fight style. I was young and I didn’t care. I just wanted to put on fights for the crowd and they love that type of stuff,” Jackson said recently.

“It’s a no-brainer. The UFC is going back to Japan and I got my big break in Japan. I wanted to be there,” he added.  “I couldn’t just say it was on my bucket list, but you know what I’m saying, it was a no-brainer that UFC is putting on a show in Japan and I wanted to be on that card.”

For Jackson, it wasn’t just about returning to Japan to complete at least one more time in front of the rabid combat sports culture there.  Returning to fight in Japan is personal to Jackson.

“It’s very important to me personally.  My kids are from Japan; my kids’ grandparents are from there. They’ve never really watched me fight back in the day, and I’ve got a lot of experience in Japan,” said the former UFC light heavyweight titleholder.

“I really miss the fans; I’m not going to lie. I really miss fighting there. So it was something personal for me. My two younger kids can come watch me fight and the in-laws can be in the crowd and watch me fight. I never had that before, so it is something that I want to do.”

With his fighting roots in Japan and his popularity there, it was a “no-brainer” to put Jackson in the line-up, but it wasn’t that simple.  He had to lobby the UFC to be included on the UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson fight card.

“Well, my manager has informed me not to go into that. That could get me in trouble with some people at the UFC. You guys know I had to fight (to get) on this card. That’s all I can go into,” said Jackson on the UFC 144 Japan media conference call.

“I had to fight to be on this card and complain and bitch to my manager. Now I think the representatives of the UFC are upset with me a little bit, but ask me do I care,” said Jackson at a UFC 144 promotional press conference  in December.

At the end of the day, Jackson is on the card and facing Ryan Bader.  It didn’t come without some behind-the-scenes negotiations and hardball, but sometimes that’s what it takes when something is personal to you.

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  • I like Bader in this fight. I think Quinton is resigned to the fact that his career has come to an end and his heart just isn’t in it anymore. He’s been talking a lot about retirement in interviews lately and seems focused on life outside of fighting. This will likely be his last fight although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him “un-retire” some time in the not so distant future and take another fight or two. Maybe a rematch with Rashad.

  • Prodigy815

    Sorry but Bader is going to get knocked out.

    • Cptmats

      My thought exactly, Rampage would have to fall asleep in mid fight for Bader to win…….not even sure that would do it.

  • mmachoman

    Win or lose, I think this will be Rampage’s LAST FIGHT.

    His legacy took off in Japan. I bet he’s willing to end it in Japan too.

  • Rampage will retire WATCH! so sad to see one of my hero leave but at least hes goona leave on a good note after he woops baders ass luv you rampage.

  • Anthony

    ok heres my take on Rampage -while in Pride the guy was a balls out take no prisiners raped ape–he went out ther with bad intentions and wanted to hurt and maime—- seems to me once he got to UFC he got civilized. He no longer fights to kill somebody, now he fights not to lose. Conservative so as not to make mistakes instead of the pride Rampage of recklace abandon. His recond tells the tail , since hes been in th ufc hes had im estimating 10 fights–correct me if im wrong and of those fight he finished 4 opponents–Chuck(an aging chuck at the end of a long carreer) Jardine(I wont comment on this) Silva(another aging legend at the end of a carreer) and we cant for get Beastman Eastman(who moonlights as nintendo punchouts Glass Joe)–my point is hes not going out there to hurt people and finish fights anymore–he simply plays the game and wins his dancy dancy pitter pat decicions–BORING–bring back the Rampage that looked like he was fired out of a cannon-win or lose that guy put asses in seats and eveybody got their money worth. Another thing, is it me or does Rampages howl sound kinda like a beagle with sever down syndrom??

    • Lesnardo

      Dear Anthony –

      First, he did not finish Jardine.

      Second, Rampage got better in the UFC. The wild fighting style in PRIDE doesn’t carry over well to the UFC. Go see Shogun’s PRIDE and UFC fighting styles.

      Third, Rampage, while a strong individual, was NEVER a knockout artist. Who did he KO in PRIDE? He finished few japanese 185lbers.

      Fourth, there was a headbutt. YES a freaking headbutt knocked Arona out. Not the slam itself.

    • Lesnardo

      Another thing, is it me or does Rampages howl sound kinda like a beagle with sever down syndrom??

      It’s just you.

      It’s supposed to be a wolf’s howl or some shit like that.