By Kelsey Mowatt
Questions regarding how long Quinton “Rampage” Jackson plans to keep on fighting have been the norm since the fighter temporarily walked away from the UFC in 2009 to play a role in “The A-Team”, which led to a rather public rift with the promotion’s president Dana White. Of course, Jackson eventually made his way back to the UFC, and having earned a split decision win over fellow former champion Lyoto Machida last time out, has the debate finally ended as to whether Jackson remains committed to MMA long term? The answer is apparently no.
Heading into Jackson’s bout next Saturday with renowned wrestler Matt Hamill, the 33 year-old veteran has made comments seemingly indicating that acting, and not fighting, is his primary goal. Furthering speculation as to whether Jackson remains as passionate about his pugilistic endeavours as he was in previous years, has been the perception that the accomplished fighter isn’t terribly excited about facing Hamill at UFC 130.
Well, in a UFC media teleconference held yesterday, Jackson once again fielded questions regarding his current mindset about fighting, and the veteran was quick to respond to those who have questioned his motivation.
“I think there’s a big misperception,” said Jackson, while discussing the belief he isn’t overly excited about his upcoming May 28th bout. “Some MMA fans they don’t understand, they don’t hear something they want to hear so they jump all over you. If you really get to know me I’m not really excited about anybody I fight. It’s my job to me; it’s my career. You know what I’m saying. I don’t get excited about anyone I fight; I have almost 40 fights. I don’t get excited about anyone I fight; I just go out there and do it.”
“Yes I want to do movies as I get done fighting because you can’t fight until your 60,” Jackson added. “If anybody’s smart they want to have an exit plan for MMA or any full contact sport. You can tell the fans that are smart and which fans are kind of ignorant; they think that you fight and then just be done. What happens after you’re done fighting? What are you going to do then? You just rot away? I don’t understand what they think?”
While Jackson explained the rationale behind why he continues to explore acting, and also revealed that he has been approached to do more films, the 31-8 fighter also reaffirmed his plans to hang up the gloves in two years.
“I felt that way since the day I started fighting. I don’t want to fight past 35,” Jackson said. “I said it years ago; I don’t know why people are just starting to catch on to it now; I said it years ago as well.”
Clearly, unless something dramatically changes, Jackson’s fighting career is entering into its final stages, and his recent comments may or may not alter the perception of some that the light-heavyweight's passion for combat has diminished. That said, Jackson apparently did not care for some of the statements Hamill reportedly made recently, regarding what he intends to do on May 28th.
“I think Matt made a mistake when he actually said he was going to break my will,” Jackson noted. “That I’m going to overlook him. That actually lit a fire up under my ass and made me train a little bit harder so that I can break his will. So I can make sure that I outclass him. That’s why I worked a lot on my wrestling, a lot on my cardio, and so that I can get up off my back in case he does take me down...when he said that it motivated me just as much as I have been in other fights.”
UFC 130 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.