Quinton “Rampage” Jackson recently made the move from PRIDE to the UFC, and looks to take down current Light Heavyweight champion Chuck Lidell in their highly anticipated rematch coming up at UFC 71, on May 26. Chuck Lidell’s last defeat was to Jackson, and we all know that Chuck is eager to avenge this loss. Quinton recently took some time during his training to speak with us. He discussed his history in the sport, relayed some less than kind words about Mr. Lidell, and gave his thoughts about the future of MMA.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of the interview.
First of all, Quinton, I just wanna thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. It’s certainly an honor to have you as an interview guest on BuddyTV and we see you clearly as one of the most exciting and, quite honestly, hilarious personalities in the sport of MMA and you’re truly a pleasure to watch. What I like to do with these interviews, Quinton, is just to sort of baseline and level set for the fans and it would be great if you could tell us a little bit about how you got started fighting and what made you, what prompted you in your life to decide to focus on MMA?
Well, I figured since that I was fighting on the streets as I was growing up as a kid, I might as well fight in a way I wouldn’t get in trouble for it. I’d get kicked out of college for fighting, as one of my teammates did. Started training and boom! Next thing I knew I was in a fight, getting my butt kicked for a living.
So, this was in college or was this in high school?
Well, I got kicked out of college for fighting.
You got kicked out of college so you started focusing on mixed martial arts shortly thereafter?
Yes, shortly thereafter I focused on mixed martial arts and I had just started wrestling when I was seventeen and I just fell in love with it, so to keep doing my wrestling and mixed martial arts was one way I could it, so I just started trying it.
When you were growing up as a kid did you play any sports or anything like that… any organized sports?
No, I never played any sports when I was a kid, but I fought a lot.
Tell us a little about your transition from Pride over to the UFC. Clearly you’ve moved from Asia to America, what do you like most and what do you like least about the move?
Well, what I like most about the move was that it’s closer to home. I won’t have to take a long airplane flight just to go fight and, you know, I’m a very picky eater so it’s hard for me to eat a lot of stuff in Japan right before a fight and sometimes the language barrier would get in the way, but what I like least is that the fans in Japan are like…like some of the greatest fans you ever wanna see, they give gifts, they just love you, they’re just mad. It’s hard to explain. You just gotta see it with your own two eyes. They know everything about you, they make little trading cards of you and they give them to you and, you know, it’s nice fighting in front of a bunch of beautiful Japanese girls who really like the sport, you know, cause Japanese girls, they really like the sport.
How have you been received since coming across to the UFC from your fan base here in the U.S.?
Well, there are a lot of hard core fans who knew who I was and they welcomed me pretty good and the UFC has been treating me pretty well. You know, the Pride organization in Japan, you know, for several years they really never treated me like their own, really. They always tried to set me up to lose…and since I’ve entered the UFC, no one’s trying to put me with their champion right away. You know, it’s just that the things they did to me, I just got tired of putting up with it. The UFC, they treat me pretty good and I really like them. They mean a lot to me. I’m the type of fighter, you know what I’m saying, when somebody treats me well, I want to perform even better, like, you guys haven’t seen anything yet, you haven’t seen the real me because I did enough stuff in Pride just to keep me popular.
Pride clearly hasn’t had a great track record in the UFC in recent months with Heath Herring coming across, Mirko coming across, both losing their fights. Clearly, you were successful in your first bout in the UFC against Marvin Eastman, but are you nervous about the trend that Pride fighters are having coming to the UFC right now and losing?
No. They ain’t got nothing to do with me. And Mr. Eastman came over and he’s kicking ass, you know what I’m saying, in his first two fights. He’s a champion and those other fights got nothing to do with me. That’s their own. That’s them. It’s got nothing to do with me.
So, how do you characterize your health going into the Lidell fight? Are you feeling one hundred percent healthy now?
Yeah, I’m close to a hundred percent. I’m saying about ninety percent in this. I’m pretty heavy with my cardio and everything.
Can you tell your fans specifically how you’re training for Lidell? Can you give us an idea what your daily routine looks like?
We do stuff everyday, but just imagine going through hell everyday, that’s what my training is like. It’s like walking through hell with gasoline drawers on.
How many hours a day are you training?
I’m not a maverick, I wake up at six-thirty in the morning, I run three miles or do sprints, then I go back at ten, I train til twelve, twelve-thirty, and then I go back at five, and I train until seven or eight. So, y’all do the math.
So, the last time you fought Chuck was in 2003. That was Chuck’s last loss, so what have you done differently this time to improve to brace yourself for a much improved Chuck in 2007?
To be honest, I don’t think Chuck improved much. I’ve been watching his fights. I’ve been training and staying where I did last time…I don’t think Chuck improved that much, those same punches. His cardio don’t look good, he looks old, he still got a beer belly, I see a few stretch marks, I don’t see no improvement.
So, your last loss was to Mauricio Rua, a pretty ugly fight, you were beat up pretty bad in that fight. Is that the worst beating you’ve ever taken in a professional fight?
Why do you choose to ask me questions like this?
I was just curious to know what the worst beating was in any fight you’ve ever had?
Why do you wanna ask a fighter some stuff like that, though? That’s like stuff you shouldn’t ask fighters, man.
You don’t have to answer it. Sorry if that struck a nerve, certainly we’re all huge fans of yours and your fan base would just like to know…
Well, honestly behind the scenes, people don’t know…I was injured going into that fight. That’s one of those fights, I should have said…I shouldn’t get the fight, I was injured.
So, here’s another question for you, Quinton: All this talk about sort of the death of boxing, and now the resurgence of boxing, with the Mayweather-De La Hoya fight last week into Vegas, you got any comments on that? Where do you see the two sports stacking up, and is boxing still dead? What would it look like if you were to fight Mike Tyson in his prime?
They would have to pay me millions of dollars to fight Mike Tyson. To box him? To box with Mike Tyson or to fight him with my rules?
You go fight him with MMA rules, what do you think the outcome would be?
Oh, I’d whoop his ass. If I fight Mike Tyson on MMA rules, I’ll whoop his ass, he’d be on his back quick. But boxing is dying down, you know what I’m saying, I think boxing is dying down because a lot of boxers are doing talking but they ain’t backing it up. Ain’t no one hitting the canvas. You know, I’m a big fan of Mayweather but then he said some bad stuff about MMA, but then I heard he retracted. I like De La Hoya too, but I fell asleep during that fight. I took like two, three rounds off. Then I woke up and they were still fighting. Their sport is dying, I just wish my sport made as much money as they are cause they’re making good, man. We putting butts in the seats and we’re exciting people, you know. And boxing is just dying, you know. But the only thing with my sport, you know, is that I’ve seen like there’s a lot more shows, and it’s like four to five nights a week and I just hope people don’t get burnt out on that.
Is there anything your fans don’t know about you that they should know about you? Could you tell the fans something that maybe they haven’t seen on Spike TV or what they’ve read on the internet?
Well, I just want my fans to know that when I fight, you know, I’m fighting for them. I just want them to know that if I’m gonna be the champion, I’m gonna be their favorite champion. They’re gonna love me.
How did you get the name Rampage?
My cousin gave it to me when I was eight years old, cause I had a really bad temper.
And I heard that all three of your boys all have the middle name Rampage, is that correct?
Actually, my middle boy, I didn’t get to change his name directly. So, two of my boys have the middle name Rampage and my daughter had the name Page.
My dog has its middle name Rampage too.
BuddyTV is proud to have a number of upcoming interviews with some of today’s top UFC fighters. Here is a list of our soon to be published interviews.
Sean Salmon – 5/17
Josh Burkman – 5/21
Chris Leben – 5/22
Carmelo Marrero – 5/23
Keith Jardine – 5/24
(Interview Conducted by Tom Michel)
(Image Courtesy of UFC.com)