Which Rampage Jackson will show up at UFC 130?

When I was first exposed to Quinton Jackson it was through an old PRIDE DVD that my Martial Arts teacher owned. It was PRIDE’s the Best of Rampage Jackson. This was of course before he became the MMA superstar that we know now in the UFC. His battles with Kevin Randleman, his upset in the first fight with Chuck Liddell, his rivalry with Wanderlei Silva, but what really stood out to me was “the slam”.

Ricardo Arona is arguably one of the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to ever make the jump to Mixed Martial Arts. For those that haven’t seen it I recommend you go search for it now. Ricardo had Rampage in a very tight looking triangle choke. But Jackson was so strong, while stuck in the triangle he lifted Arona up off the canvas, and powerbombed him with enough force to knock him out. It was a very scary, but a memorable moment in our sport. After that night Arona was never the same again and Rampage’s stock among fans skyrocketed.

After being 17-5 in the legendary PRIDE promotion, Rampage brought his bruising style of fighting back to America. After making a quick stop in the World Fighting Alliance’s last pay-per-view against Matt Lindland, he finally made his UFC debut at UFC 67 against Marvin Eastman. After destroying Eastman, he made very easy work of the “Iceman” Chuck Liddell in their 2nd fight at UFC 71. This time Rampage went home with the UFC gold around his waist.

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Jackson then unanimously beat Dan Henderson to unify the PRIDE and UFC Light-Heavyweight titles at UFC 75 in England. Rampage was becoming a huge star in the UFC and in the mainstream. He started to appear on numerous TV shows like Pimp My Ride, Jackass, and King of Queens. He also became a staple in b-list movies that is until his appearance in 2010’s A-Team movie. Rampage was also a coach on the 7th season of The Ultimate Fighter along side Forrest Griffin

Forrest and Rampage finally faced off at UFC 86 to a controversial decision that saw Jackson lose his title to Griffin. Trouble with the law followed Rampage after the bout a few weeks later. Rampage was involved with a hit and run which turned into a high speed chase involving police which he would plead guilty to. When he returned to the cage he seemed to return hungry and a bit more focused.

He met his arch-nemesis Wanderlei Silva for a 3rd fight at UFC 92 which Rampage finished in devastating fashion. Rampage then beat Keith Jardine at UFC 96 and was back in the Light-Heavyweight title picture. An injury to his jaw kept him sidelined and he wasn’t able to fight Rashad Evans (who was champion at the time). Instead Rampage and Rashad were chosen to be coaches for the tenth season of TUF.

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Shortly after filming the tenth season of TUF, Rampage “retired” from the UFC claiming to be mistreated and underpaid. Months later he publicly stated that he wanted to finish off his contract and fight Rashad Evans. The fight finally went down at UFC 114 which Rampage lost. At UFC 123, Rampage won a controversial decision against “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida. Rampage is once again in the title picture and was scheduled to face Thiago Silva at UFC 130. That was until Thiago failed his urine test from UFC 125. Now Rampage is set to face Matt Hamill.

The Quinton “Rampage” Jackson I know and became familiar with was a monster. A forced to be reckoned with in a ring or cage. The man that I saw destroy Ricardo Arona, the fighter who knocked out Chuck Liddell cold today as we know him doesn’t exist anymore. It’s no secret Rampage hates training. He loves to fight, he loves to beat people up, but when it comes to putting in the work in training camp he doesn’t like putting in the effort, and to be honest it shows in his performances.

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We can’t knock a guy that wants to make money. We all want to make money, it’s no secret. But when we as fans are putting our hard earned dollars into this main event, we are investing in a guy that doesn’t seem to care that he is headlining. It’s very disappointing.

I had a chance to listen to Ariel Helwani‘s show from MMAFighting.com on Monday. When Rampage appeared on the show to talk about his upcoming bout, he didn’t sound interested at all and just wants to get it over with. What is the point of fighting and headlining at the highest level when you don’t care? What happened to the man who was once one of the most feared men in the fight game? Now he is known as kind of a joke and new fans will remember him for his antics on the tenth season of TUF.

Will the hungry PRIDE fighter show up in the Octagon next Saturday or will the Hollywood star who acts like he is too big for fighting show up? Agree or disagree? Your thoughts in the comment box.

Photo: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson during a portrait session on July 3, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Francis Specker