When the UFC announced they had officially acquired PrideFC over a year ago, many thought that those fighters were far superior than the talent that the UFC had available. Also, the only reason that the UFC fighters were even in the same league was because they were in the United States and the UFC had established a monopoly here. Unfortunately, most of those fighters haven’t panned out except for current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.The UFC is able to provide exposure to fighters that no other organization in the world can match. Outlets such as the successful Ultimate Fighter reality show, which is where Rampage’s UFC 86 opponent Forrest Griffin first emerged onto the MMA scene, allows the UFC to “manufacture” superstars and force feed them onto the fans. Most old school fighters felt that these guys were receiving the silver spoon treatment, getting much of what they were receiving strictly based on the show.
Rampage finds himself caught smack in the middle of this conundrum as he is set to face Griffin July 5th, who’s previous victory over Top Ranked Lightweight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who also came from PrideFC, earned him the title shot. Griffin was TUF champion in its inaugural season, and Rua had defeated Rampage rather convincingly just three years ago.
However, the Champ was not in any hurry to give his opponent any compliments on his upset victory over Rua.
“I didn’t even watch that fight on tape yet. I was there, but that fight didn’t impress me much. Shogun wasn’t the same. If I watch that fight and try to go off that fight, I’d be misled because Shogun wasn’t 100 percent,” expressed the Champ. “If Shogun was 100 percent and fights like he normally fights, that would be the fight to watch. Heck, Shogun’s girlfriend could have beat him that night.”
Rampage is one of the few Pride fighters that have come over to the UFC and not only has had success, but in fact has been the most successful of all Pride fighters. All of his other Pride counterparts have been a disappointment, if not disgraceful. However, Rampage continues to stick up for his former Far East rivals, believing that they are elite fighters.
“Things happen. I think Shogun took the fight with Forrest because he needed it,” Rampage added. “I don’t think he should have taken the fight on such short notice. I’m a fighter. I can tell how the fighter fought in the past and how they are fighting on that day. I could tell something was up with Shogun, that he was hurt. With Cro Cop, his first fight in the UFC he had the UFC jitters. It’s just hard to get used to the UFC.”
The Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic that he is referring to was the second ranked Heavyweight in the world when he entered the UFC, however after a 1-2 record he was let go from the organization before his contract was up.
Since Rampage defeated UFC fan favorite Chuck Liddell for the title last year, he has seen his popularity in the US skyrocket. He was even chosen to be a coach on this past season’s TUF, opposite Griffin. And now that that competition is over, it leads us to where we are today. A title shot for the former Ultimate Fighter champ against the man that has made no bones to why he is in MMA in the first place.
“I don’t care who I fight. I fight for money. I don’t care,” stated Rampage. “I’m only worried about the fight with Forrest Griffin. It’s time to work. I feel like it’s fight time. I’m not friends with nobody until the cage door opens after the fight. I love everybody, but if you’re fighting me then it’s a fight.”
As far as the level of compensation that he is currently receiving from his new company, well things could always be better.
“I am happy with how the UFC is treating me. They are treating me better than the organization I came from, Pride,” said a motivated Rampage. “I can’t complain. Money can always be better. Fighters have to fight each other. We are the ones that have to train hard and fight each other. We could always use more money. It didn’t matter if I make a billion dollars, then I’d want to make two billion.”
And as the fight inches closer and closer, Rampage said that he will continue to work on perfecting his own game, not worrying so much on what Griffin’s strengths may be. If he can fight his fight, he already knows what the outcome will be.
“Everything is going good. The training camp is great,” stated Rampage. “I’m above schedule in my cardio because I like to peak. I’ll have some extra cardio this time to whip up on Forrest. I think everything is going according to plan. I don’t watch a lot of video because I just like to fight the way I fight. He has to adapt to me. I’m not worried about what he’s going to do.”
Rampage tries his best to simplify his life, he has his mind on his money, and his money on his mind. And now that he knows how to get more of it, the rest of the UFC 205-pounders better be worried.