by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The story of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson reads much like a Hollywood screenplay. It started with a tough upbringing in the streets, then a turn to professional fighting, suffering tough defeats and then finding redemption that carries with it championship gold.
Yes, Quinton Jackson has seen a lot in his young life and now he is fulfilling a dream by carrying the UFC light heavyweight championship and he will write one more chapter in his legacy when he takes on Pride champion, Dan Henderson, this Saturday in England.
Jackson has been on quite a ride over the last few years, including a stint in Pride that made him one of the most charismatic figures in all of MMA.
But with that charisma came much criticism as the always vocal fighter suffered 2 losses to former champion Wanderlei Silva and a loss to his teammate, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua that made many question whether or not he could ever get to the top of the sport.
What Rampage did have was a growing fan base and when his contract with Pride expired in 2006 almost every fan state side were clamoring for the fighter to be brought into the UFC to fight Chuck Liddell, arguably the most popular competitor in the sport today and someone that Jackson defeated in 2003.
Instead, Jackson signed with the reformed WFA organization who intended the Memphis, Tenn. native to be their star and they showcased him on their lone pay-per-view in July 2006 against Matt Lindland.
The model for the WFA didn’t work as Rampage did squeak out a razor thin decision over the former Olympic silver medalist, but the organization had financial troubles and soon they closed their doors and Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, bought them up, swallowing all of their fighters’ contracts with them.
The stage was set for Rampage to finally step up to the biggest show in the United States and see if he could work his way into a title shot with then champion Chuck Liddell, who had looked almost invincible since their last fight.
The first order of business was taken care of as Jackson disposed of Marvin Eastman in his debut bout, a rematch from a fight that Eastman won when Rampage was still very much in his MMA infancy.
While Rampage asked for more time and another bout to ready himself for Liddell, the UFC saw things differently and put a match-up together right away pitting the two together again headlining the pay-per-view in late May 2006.
On that night in May it seemed like Rampage made lightning strike in the same place twice as he again finished off Liddell, this time in the 1st round, and picked up his first major championship as he won the UFC light heavyweight title.
Since that time, Rampage has been enjoying the fruits of that victory, becoming the headlining and mainstream star that everyone thought he could become many years ago.
Rampage has quickly become one of the most recognized and popular stars in the UFC, now taking his show overseas as he gives England a taste of American MMA.
The light heavyweight champion is set to face off against Dan Henderson, the Pride 205lb champion, who won the title by defeating the man who twice knocked out Jackson in Wanderlei Silva.
Jackson has been on media frenzy over the past few weeks helping the UFC hype the show in England, but word from his camp is that this could be the best Quinton “Rampage” Jackson fans have ever seen.
Win, lose, or draw, Rampage will surely keep things entertaining and while his life may turn into a movie one day, he is sure to add a few more twists and turns before the sun sets on this UFC star.