by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Former UFC light heavyweight
champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is back in the U.S. after a trip
across the pond to the U.K., where he’s set up shop at the Wolfslair gym
alongside teammates Paul Kelly and Michael Bisping.
Jackson’s commute is hard on
his family life, so he lavishes attention on his four children when he returns.
“My dad was a working man. He
was in the National Guard, be gone for two weeks at a time,” Jackson said in an
exclusive video interview with MMAWeekly.com. “My big boys understand; my
two little babies, they don’t know. They just know, ‘daddy gone, pow, pow.'”
Jackson immediately took a
liking to the Wolfslair when Bisping invited him there to train for his fight
with Dan Henderson at UFC 75. Jackson successfully defended his title, but lost
it in a subsequent five-round war with Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. After leaving
former trainer Juanito Ibarra, he felt a move across the pond was necessary.
“The managers and stuff over
there are really good, and it’s just really a good atmosphere,” he said. “The
guys work really hard. I needed a change in my training and how people trained
me. I’m a Werewolf, and the name of the gym is the Wolfslair. You do the math.”
Wolfslair trainers have
Jackson doing things he’s never done for a fight.
“I’m swimming now,” he said. “It’s
helping my cardio get a lot better. I’ve started lifting weights. What do you
call it, strength and conditioning.“
Change seems to be the only
constant in Jackson’s life. Only three months ago, he was riding high with a
UFC belt, soaking in the perks of the position. After the Griffin loss, his
world seemed to take a seismic shift; a breakup from Ibarra, a high-profile
brush with the law, and training relocation to a foreign land came in rapid
succession. In the middle of all this, he was offered a fight at UFC 92 with
Wanderlei Silva, a man who not only beat him, but beat
him badly on two separate occasions.
Heady times for anyone; let
alone a person in the spotlight. Jackson says his age has made him a wiser man,
and more capable against a monster like Silva.
“I think this fight will be
different because I think I’m more mature now,” he said. “I’m a lot older, got
a lot more experience. I fought Wanderlei both times when I was a kid, I feel
like I was a kid in this sport. I got a little bit better skills now. I won’t
have to fight Chuck Liddell first, and this time there won’t be so much
pressure. We’re not fighting for any championship, we’re just going out there
and fighting for money.”
Jackson will certainly know
if his life changes have made him a better fighter when he steps into the
Octagon with Silva in December. But first and foremost, he wants his fans to
know that he won’t be distracted by the whirlwind around him.
“I’ve got the best people
around me. I’m a child of God,” he said. “Ain’t nothing distracting me, homie.