by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com

There was a time when that word was nowhere to be found in the vocabulary of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. That is no longer the case.

“To be honest, that was the last thing I ever had to worry about was overtraining because I always under train for my fights,” he said. “I had to take like three days off. I was peaking too soon. I never experienced that before.”

He came out on top with a unanimous decision victory over Keith Jardine at UFC 96 on Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio, but that doesn’t mean that Jackson wasn’t critical of himself.

“I don’t think it was anything he did,” the former UFC light heavyweight champion retorted when asked why he wasn’t more aggressive, like he was against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92. “I think it was my mind and what I had going on in my mind. I just kind of psyched myself out with my cardio. I don’t want to burn myself out because I been kind of overtraining a little bit.”

Still, Jackson expected more out of himself, even if his camp didn’t. “I think I could have done a lot better. Jardine is a tough opponent. My camp is happy with what I did.”

A fight is a fight, however; there is someone standing across the Octagon ready to fire back. A fact not lost on Jackson.

“I hit Jardine with everything but the kitchen sink,” he stated at the UFC 96 post-fight press conference. “He went down, I tried to pounce on him, but he recovered and got up. He was pissing me off, like, ‘Damn, why don’t you just stay your ugly ass down? Let me knock you out.’ But he wouldn’t go. He’s tough man, much respect.”

The win puts him at the front of the line for a shot at current champion Rashad Evans, but the current thoughts of overtraining and a hurried date of May 23 at UFC 98, casts at least a slight shadow of doubt on whether he will accept or voluntarily drop a rung down on the ladder. Such a decision would allow Lyoto Machida to step in at UFC 98 and the shot at the gold around Evans’ waist.

“I want my belt back,” proclaimed Jackson, but tempered his response by adding, “I’ve got to talk to my manager, see if everything’s cool. I’ll tell Dana in a couple of days.”