For a former world champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has been in the underdog role more than one time in his career.
From his first fight against Chuck Liddell when he was still in Pride Fighting Championships to his recent bout against fellow former champion Lyoto Machida, Jackson has been counted out before, but it’s a feeling that motivates the Memphis native.
When Jackson’s back is against the wall that’s when he reacts and feels the most dangerous. He feels exactly that way as he heads into his upcoming fight with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
The odds are heavy against Jackson as Jones has been anointed one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport already, and the betting lines have the former world champion as much as a 5-to-1 underdog in some sportsbooks.
All of that added together has made Quinton Jackson a very motivated fighter because he’s read all the comments, he’s heard everyone talking, and he’s ready to send a very sudden and violent message to the world by knocking out Jones when they meet this weekend at UFC 135 in Denver.
“Everybody’s counting me out. I’m the underdog. If you know anything about me and my personality, that’s what gives me more hunger, that’s what makes me train harder,” Jackson told MMAWeekly Radio. “Same thing when I fought Chuck Liddell in the UFC, I was the underdog, everybody counted me out. I read stuff people saying about me like how I’m going to get knocked out. That makes me train harder, that fuels me.”
Following two losses to former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva while he was still competing in Japan, Jackson met the Brazilian legend for a third time in the UFC. Many expected the same result as the first two times they met, but Jackson was more than ready for the third match-up and the result was much, much different.
“Same thing with Wanderlei Silva, he beat me twice. I know why I lost to that guy two times. I went to the Wolfslair and started training with those guys, and I was the underdog and everybody counted me out, and look what happened,” Jackson explained.
Heading into the fight, Jackson has heard all of the expert’s predictions and even a few by former fighters that put money into his pocket.
“You’ve got Randy Couture hating and talking bad saying bad things like how my opponent’s going to beat me, when he and his company sponsor me. Xtreme Couture and Affliction. I’m sponsored by this guy and he’s talking bad. It’s giving me fuel,” Jackson said.
“Like how Machida’s going to beat me and stuff, and how Matt Hamill’s going to beat me, that stuff gives me fuel. And I just have to throw this in there, and Randy Couture steps in there with Machida and gets his teeth knocked down his throat. Seeing him go out there and get beat by Machida like that and me beating Machida, I want to show the world ‘look, they call me a legend, I’m a legend, I’m going to fight like a legend.’”
To prepare for the world title bout, Jackson picked up everything and moved to Colorado to get ready for the fight with Jones. While he did transplant in some key training partners from his previous camps, Jackson wanted to retool his work and make sure he was totally prepared for whatever Jones could throw at him.
“I’m going to go out there and I’m going to put on a great show and I’m going to devastate this opponent, blow him out the water, get my belt back and shine, and keep shining, and keep training hard. Because now I know I can train hard here at the MusclePharm facility with my team and they’re doing things right, and all my teammates at the Wolfslair, we’re doing things right,” Jackson commented.
“I’m going to show the world why I deserve to get my belt back, and I’m going to keep that belt, and anyone that steps in that cage across from me will have hell to pay.”
While Jon Jones is a heavy favorite heading into the fight, Jackson’s words may have hyped up the bout, but it could have already started to get in the champion’s head just a bit. Jackson accused Jones’ manager of planting a spy in his training camp to get inside info, and he’s not letting up on that idea, even just days away from the fight.
Even though Jackson is convinced Jones had an informant in his camp, at this point he welcomes the champion to have any and all inside knowledge about him, because it just means he has an idea of what to expect on fight night.
“Dude’s got a spy in my camp, he knows what type of shape I’m in, he knows what I’m doing. I’m going to drag him into deep waters and I’m going to drown him. He done wrote a check that his ass can’t cash. He’s flapping at the gums, talking all this stuff what he’s going to do, tweeting all this stuff. Tweeting his record’s something that it ain’t true, tweeting like he already beat me. The kid all he’s doing is putting more fuel in my fire, getting me stronger,” said Jackson.
“If I was him, I would just shut up right now and go on ahead and accept his ass whooping like a man.”
With his new found confidence and what he calls the best training camp he’s ever experienced, Jackson has a warning for Jon Jones. It’s pretty clear he’s not afraid of the champ, and he’s going to face him with that same attitude on Saturday night.
“What’s the UFC thinking? They put bones in front of a wolf. Don’t do that. I’m going to eat him up. Trust me,” Jackson stated.
“You’re going to see a brand new Rampage in the cage. All the pressure’s on him, I’ve got nothing to lose.”