By Jason Kelly
Anytime you question a fighter who has a following as gargantuan as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, you await the hate you are sure to receive from his devoted fans, and I am prepared for it. The werewolf howls, Rampage slams, and willingness to hurt people are what made Rampage a lucrative fighter for UFC to contract following the UFC’s buyout of Pride FC. Rampage entered the UFC Octagon with the identical intensity he brought to the Pride ring, but things have just gone downhill from there. The Rampage that was willing to knock out or get knocked out has faded; the Rampage that came to the UFC left his Pride, in Pride.
The Rampage of Pride FC would have steamrolled Keith Jardine in the round just off raw determination; instead Rampage brought his lackluster performance with Jardine to a decision. Rampage did not have the same determination and ferociousness that he displayed in Pride. After Rampage smashed Marvin Eastman and afterward earned Chuck Liddell’s belt, I thought to myself; “Great, another outstanding fighter UFC has to mix up the light heavyweight division”. I would not say I was wrong but, I definitely would not say I was correct. Rampage went on to beat Dan Henderson in a unanimous decision after he defeated Liddell for the light heavyweight strap, since then Rampage’s only claim to rampaging was his knock out over Wanderlei Silva, a monster who distinguished Rampage’s existence twice in Pride FC. Rampage appears to be complacent after that revengeful knock out win, and ever since then he has expressed a diminutive interest in fighting.
Rashad Evans might have been slammed to pieces if Pride Rampage walked into the cage but, but lost a decision in that night. Once again, not being the aggressive, get-after-it Rampage we knew and loved in Pride. Now he faces perhaps the worst match up of his career, former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Rampage now faces a fighter who incorporates patience and discipline more so than any other opponent he has ever encountered. This something Jackson has never had to deal with before, and may prove to be massive nuisance for Rampage.
Lyoto will put Rampage in precarious positions, keeping him guessing, instead of blasting Machida with the his patented “bust yo ass!” approach. However, if the Rampage from Pride does enter the octagon at UFC 123, this fight will be violent but, the interest Rampage has shone in fighting recently; is nil. Rampage has not lost his willpower to fight but, he conveys no ambition in a title and epitomizes a no concern attitude in which fighter he fights. That is not the Quinton we know from Pride. Jackson’s chance to re kindle his desire for fighting comes in the form of Lyoto Machida, a man Rampage cannot embrace nonchalantly, or Rampage will be forgotten like Nintendo Rampage, the same way Jackson forgot Pride Rampage; pride less.