When Quinton “Rampage” Jackson battles Ryan Bader on February 26th, it will mark exactly six years since the last time Rampage fought in Japan. While the anniversary is an interesting coincidence, that’s not the primary reason he was so adamant about competing in the Land of the Rising Sun.
“Back when I was fighting here, I just wanted to put on a good show for the fans because all the energy they give,” Rampage said during today’s press conference. “In America, you’re under so much pressure to win at all costs because the fans talk [expletive] to you if you lose even if it’s a good, exciting fight. In Japan, it’s just a different energy.
“Who knows? Maybe I’ll take more chances and not care because it’s all about the crowd. I react to the crowd. I don’t care about the people watching on TV.”
Prior to making his Octagon debut in February of 2007, Rampage made his claim to mixed martial arts fame with his epic battles in the Orient. Of his 41 professional fights, 18 of them have taken place in Japan. Although he didn’t always come out on the winning end of the shootouts, the slugger’s charisma and willingness to engage allowed him to become a fan-favorite.
“I’m all about putting on an exciting fight in Japan,” Rampage added. “One thing I love about Japanese fans and why I love them the most is that they don’t care if you win or lose. All they care is if you have samurai spirit, that you put on a good fight.
“That’s why Japanese fans are my favorite, and American fans are jealous that I say that all the time.”
UFC 144 takes place inside the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Rampage’s tango with Bader will serve as the night’s co-featured contest.