I’ll admit that consider myself one of those MMA fans who really did not get into the sport until it became popular.
Sure I watched a few of the early UFC events with my stepdad when I was a kid, but it was not until 2006 when I really started to delve into the sport, and there was one fighter who piqued my interest: Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion and Pride superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
With Jackson fighting Glover Teixeira on tonight’s Fox being his last for the UFC, I’ve been seeing mixed reactions to Rampage’s UFC tenure.
As a fan of professional wrestling, I was attached to Jackson’s power and personality. Like many past and present fans, I was wowed when he power bombed Ricardo Arona. Some of his other memorable Pride moments included his two matches with Wanderlei Silva – the second bout is my favorite fight of all time.
He also made waves when he captured the light heavyweight title from rival Chuck Liddell, but after his title win, he seemed to lose momentum. Although he continued to win his fights, Rampage was a little bit more cautious in his fights. Still, his matches with Dan Henderson and Forrest Griffin are on my list of favorite fights.
While he may have lost some momentum in his fights, he was still the trash talker, except he seemed to criticize the UFC as much as he criticized his opponents. He also had a knack for antics with female reporters. Still, at the end of the day he still entertained me in and outside of the octagon.
Like those friends you always want to complain about “how bad they have it,” I’ll admit I have been irritated by some of his more recent statements about his grievances with the UFC, and I am sure there are a lot of fighters who want to compete in the octagon and still endure the treatment he feels he suffered.
Rampage also thinks he can transition to boxing, which is easier said than done. He has the power and the charisma to get promoter to headline a couple of fight cards, but the real test would be against a top-ranked opponent.
His interview with Ariel Helwani where he performed a little bit of “Gangnam Style” had me rolling, and for a moment I had forgotten that he was in a dispute with the UFC.
Even with the recent complaints, I will always remember Rampage as an entertaining fighter, and as one of the first fighters who I liked. If this indeed Rampage’s last fight with the UFC, I would like to wish him the best in his future.
What is your favorite – or least favorite – Rampage moment? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA.