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

Speaking of having your back, big shout out goes to Reebok who you’ve lined up with for this new shoe here: the ATV19+.

Yeah, they have my back big time.

What were some of the features that were important for you to have in this shoe?

You know what, they had the shoe ready when they came to me. When I first saw the shoe—I’m into technology and stuff—I was like, Man that’s a crazy looking shoe. I was real curious about trying them on and seeing what they could do, that’s the type of person I am. When I tried them on, I instantly liked them as soon as I took [the first] couple steps and said, whoever invented these shoes was a genius. How do you feel, you’re wearing them right now?

Well, it’s the same feeling you explained. On the first look I was skeptical, but after I slipped them on I didn’t want to take them off.

Yeah, they’re very comfortable.

I saw you training, running back and forth, with them—you can’t really do that with any and every running shoe.

Nah you can’t. You can’t even hit pads with a lot of training shoes but with these you can do anything. I’ve gone in some crazy places with these on.

Craziest place?

The craziest place I’ve gone with them on was this swampy, wooded area with a lot of muddy water.

So they’re also durable.

Very durable. They could go. I didn’t care that it was muddy water because come on they gave me [the shoes] for free. [Laughs] You know how sometimes you’ll get a brand new pair of shoes and you’ll be like, I ain’t running in that! But, these shoes are made for that. They do good work.

I saw the physical training but how do you mentally prepare for these fights?

This fight is very mental. The biggest thing I do is visualize. I visualize me winning, the referee holding my hand up [in victory], me and my teammates celebrating after the fight. In this life, you make your own reality and a lot of people don’t know that. If you believe strong enough and really stay positive, you can pretty much make your own reality and that’s what I try to do.

Does that get hard at times?

Sometimes.  Sometimes it’s hard to do that but what I do over and over is visualize myself winning. When I do it right, I win.

I know you’re a hip-hop head. Who are you listening to now in preparation for this fight?

I’ve been listening to a lot of DMX for this fight. DMX is real man.

How do you feel about Juicy J’s resurgence?

I've been off the grid for a minute because of training but I just noticed that his song “Bandz A Make Her Dance” isn’t with DJ Paul. What’s going on?

They’re cool man, just focusing on their solo careers.

Oh okay that’s good.