Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson spoke recently with Fight Hub, ahead of his fight with Olympic gold medal winning ?judoka Satoshi Ishii? at Bellator 157: ‘Dynamite 2’ on June 24, 2016 at Scottrade Center in St Louis, Missouri. The fighter left the UFC for Bellator, with some bitterness. He then left Bellator saying “better the devil you know” [than Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney]. After fighting in the UFC and an extended court battle, he is back in Bellator.
“You know, I’m not my own manager,” said Jackson, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “I did my job. My job is to fight and entertain people. I’m not my own manager so it’s kinda tough sometimes when things don’t go according to what you’ve been told in the past. But it looks like Bellator got rid of the bad apple, and they’ve got a new apple in there so everything is all brand new to me.”
“The problem with MMA right now is that most people think that MMA is called UFC. I know on my social media when I tag I’m fighting in Bellator people are like, ‘Why are you going to Bellator? Why are you going to Bellator?’ Nothing against UFC because I’ve had my differences with UFC. They’re a great company but I would say some people’s dream is to go to the UFC but it’s not everybody’s dream. I like the UFC, I like Bellator. I don’t have to wear Reebok. I’m happy that I’m not forced to wear a clothing brand that’s not really a good fit for me. So that’s one benefit to being in Bellator versus being in UFC.”
“But like I said, right now all the new fighters you can tell they’re just fans coming in to fight. They’re fans so they don’t know any better. That’s their dream. The UFC’s been around longer than Bellator so that’s probably their dream to go to the UFC. So if that’s their dream to go to the UFC and to wear Reebok to make the UFC more money then go ahead. Whatever makes you happy.”
“I’ve always said a long time ago that I want to retire at 35, and hell I’ll be 38 in a couple of weeks, so it’s kinda like ‘wow!’ But I figure I love this sport so much I might as well keep doing it as long as I can. I’m not in any hurry or stuff like that. I’ve learned since I’ve gotten older, I train a little different. I’m training smarter, being more relaxed…It’s totally different from training I used to do back in the day. It seems like things are coming to me a little bit more naturally to me now and I’m getting better in all different places.”
“I’m really thinking about going to heavyweight because I am tired of cutting weight. I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m getting older now and the weight don’t come off as easily as it used to.”
“I’m fighting this guy Satoshii Ishii. I’ve never fought a gold medalist in the Olympics, an Olympic gold medalist. I’ve never fought somebody like that. He’s a southpaw, judo guy. That’s a big test for me…I have nothing to prove but if you look at it from my point of view there are always different tests. Can I beat this guy?”