MMA monster Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is training for the fight of his life. At least that’s what his main card UFC fight against Glover Teixeria tomorrow night (January 26) is being billed as. Set to take place at UFC on FOX 6 inside Chicago’s United Center, Jackson is set to deliver his final fight as a UFC fighter, leaving many wondering where the former Light Heavyweight champion will be taking his talents to thereafter.
But that’s the last thing on Q’s mind, as he carries on with his rigorous training here inside the Midwest Training Center located in Schaumburg, Illinois. Surrounded by several media outlets, the man who’s preparing for such a big match looks unruffled, carefree rather. “It’s always the biggest fight of your life,” he says. “This is [nothing] different.”
With a newly signed endorsement deal with Reebok in his pocket, the championed mixed martial arts fighter has already been moving onto different territories outside of the Octagon. His endorsed ATV 19+ training shoe with Reebok will be arriving early next month (February 1st) and judging from the shoe’s feel, it’s certainly a must-have for the average athlete.
Here, Rampage speaks with XXL about his career, Reebok deal and what he’s currently listening to before his big match.—Ralph Bristout (@RalphieBlackmon)
XXL: As soon as I came in to the training center, the first thing I heard from your trainer was that this is the biggest fight of your life.
Rampage Jackson: Yeah this is the biggest fight of my life.
But you’ve been in similar situations like this before where a match of yours is referenced as such but, this is your last bout. Does it give you chills to hear that?
Yeah, I’ve been—my last match [vs. Ryan Bader] was the biggest fight of my life and the match before that was my biggest fight so when there’s a really important fight, it’s always the biggest fight of your life. [The chills] probably won’t hit me until Friday and the day of the fight.
So lets make this clear, you’re not retiring from fighting, you’re only retiring from UFC correct?
Right. I think the problem is two things: the UFC is kind of upset that I’m leaving them so they’re going to promote that this is my last fight. They don’t want fans to know that I’m going somewhere else. 2, the new MMA fans are UFC fans and they think MMA is called UFC. So when I say I’m leaving UFC, they think that I’m leaving MMA. They don’t understand that calling MMA, UFC is kind of like calling boxing, WB.
Sounds like that sort of bugs you out.
It does sometimes. Like some fans will come up to me like, “How long have you been training for UFC?” Then I’ll be like, Man I don’t even understand your question. [Laughs] Training for UFC? You mean training for MMA? Ahh yeah, 13 years. So it’s not called UFC.
So this will be your last UFC fight, what sparked that decision?
So for my last fight, UFC knew I was injured but, I didn’t pull out of the fight ’cause it was in Japan. I got my first big break in Japan so I have a lot of love for the Japanese fans. [At the time] I was already fed up with the [league] for a little bit, but I didn’t know when they were going to be back there [plus] I had a torn ligament in my knee. But, I still wanted to fight and so I tried it.
I knew there was a big chance that I was going to lose but that didn’t matter to me. I’ve done fights injured and stuff. I went there— couldn’t make weight, run and stuff like that—and lost the fight to a decision. It was a boring fight, my opponent made it boring, I was trying to make it exciting by slamming him and doing everything that I had to do but the guy just wrestled me and held me on the ground. The referee didn’t even stand him up. Dana White [President of UFC] talked crap about me and he knew I was injured. I told him, Dana I’m sorry that I didn’t do a good job, and this was man to man. I said, I’m sorry but I tried my best, I didn’t want to pull out on the card—and it cost them a lot of money if a fight pulls out on a card. So I did that for the UFC and my Japanese fans but he went on interviews in the media talking crap about me. I said to myself, You know what, I’m not putting my health on the line anymore for these guys.
Seems like they didn’t have your back.
They don’t have my back. I felt unappreciated. So I just had to go. I thought was my last fight on the contact but, [come to find out] this one is.
READ ON TO FIND OUT ABOUT RAMPAGE’S NEW REEBOK SHOE AND WHO HE’S LISTENING TO BEFORE HIS FIGHT