Rampage Jackson & World of MMA!
I wasnt able to sit down with Rampage Jackson for a typical fighter interview but instead I went to work as usual on a Tuesday night and after being there for about an hour my other co worker walks in and informs me that Quinton Rampage Jackson is coming to my work to meet up with some of my co workers friends to take pictures of his Audi R8 for Dub magazine. So literally the whole time they were taking pictures of Rampage's R8 he was chiling with me in the back of my store just talking about random MMA information. I cant post the conversation word for word because I did not record it or write it down but im going to try and paraphrase it for all of you as best as i can.
World of MMA: When asked about how his training is coming for the Forrest Griffin fight he said that he was going to be heading up to big bear soon(next couple days) to begin his training. He commented on the effectiveness of training in high altitude and how i has helped his cardio a lot. He said he usually goes up there for six weeks and even at that five week mark he still is not used to the altitude.
World of MMA: When I brought up a recent interview that I read of Jacare where Jacare said that Griffin was the hardest worker at xtreme couture and that he has been training with some top names Page responded that he thinks that griffin is over training and that he is going to over train himself for this fight. Rampage said that Griffin doesn't have that KO power in his strikes so Rampage wants to trade with him and Rampage said that he is capable of taking punches so he doesn't think Griffin will be able to knock him out and so he will take some punches to give some punches. He also commented that he recent heard that Wandy KO'd Griffin in training and that people are telling him stuff but he can only trust so much information that he is fed.
Rampage also made a comment about the thai clinch and that forrest has been training a lot of the thai clinch and he said he is not worried about it at all. I made a comment to him that about his thai clinch he used a couple of times in pride, like when he KO'd Randleman, and he said that he has not focused on his thai clinch that much and maybe he should look in to it. i replied that it has not been used that much in UFC except by Anderson Silva and he replied with a nodding head.
World of MMA: I brought up the recent topic of Lyoto Machida's fight with Tito Ortiz and if we could potentially see a Rampage vs Lyoto Machida if he comes up with the win over Forrest. At first he didn't respond much as he was pulling out his cell phone and seemed to be texting someone. As I continued to talk about Machida's style Rampage said that he wouldn't chase after Machida like tito did with his lunging punches but rather cut machida off with angles and pick him apart with punches. On a side note; this made much sense to me as Rampage has some of the greatest footwork in the cage and that could potentially be a deciding factor to breaking down Machidas technical style.
World of MMA: I asked Rampage about some difference's of fighting in Japan in the Ring and fighting in the U.S. in an octagonal cage and if it affected him at all when he transitioned over to the UFC and he commented with a casual "Not at all" He said that he had previous cage/octagon experience so it was not a big deal at all. The topic of fight strategy came into consideration as well and he said that he typically goes with the flow. He said he is a street fighter that has transitioned over to MMA really well and that he feels comfortable in a cage so its not a big deal for him to fight in the cage. He said, "It's you and your opponent and the ref and if anything happens to you the ref will just stop it."
World of MMA: I asked Rampage if he enjoyed the doing the TUF show Griffin vs. Rampage and he said "No." He said that he is not much of a coach and it was a new experience for him. He said that when the "HEEBIE JEEBIES" hit that he didn't roll around with any of the fighters for the fear of getting herpies himself. He said that at one point in the show C.B. Dalloway thought that he too had gotten the "HEEBIE JEEBIES" but on his lips. It turned out that he did not have the Jeebs and he was unaware if they ever aired that part of the show or not. World of MMA: Rampage did say that he thought that the UFC thought that he was taking steroids. He said that he had to go to a clinic to get tested and that normally he just pees in a cup and sends it in but this time he had to go to an actual clinic to be tested. This may have something to do with the recent actions taken against Sean Sherk that requires anyone fighting in a title fight to take multiple drug tests.
World of MMA: Rampage asked me if I saw the fight between Kimbo Slice and James Thompson and what my take of it was and I replied with, "Controversial fight and not a good start for MMA in its national public television debut." I said, "Thompson had Kimbo in a crucifix up against the cage for almost two full minutes and Kimbo was unintelligently defending himself and that it was not stopped and in the first and second round thompson was rocked on his feet, but since Kimbo showed weakness in the end of the second round that the organization was eager to stop the fight at any moment that Kimbo had the advantage." Rampage agreed with me and he made the comment too that it was not a good introduction for MMA.
World of MMA: When we talked about Wandy vs Keith Jardine Rampage said that he thought Wandy was going to knock out Jardine and Jardine is someone that Wandy should knock out with Wandy's experience. He talked about how Wandy has had 3 or 4 strait loss's and most of which coming from a knockout and that it was important for Wandy to win that fight. I also made a comment about how Keith Jardine was payed 10k for his fight and that he should be making more. While I said this Rampage nodded his head in agreement and said it had to do with poor contract agreement. This led us to talk about Rampage's Knockout with Wanderlei Silva and how he was knocked out in Pride and how being knocked out is truly a mental procedure for mma fighters and recovering from it can be brutal as well. He talked about how when he was fighting Wanderlei he had him on the ground and that Wandy's corner was yelling "Stand them up" and then the ref stood them up while Page was in still attacking. Rampage said that he should have taken Wandy down right away after they were stood up but he didn't and then when Wandy threw his high kick Rampage said he ducked down like an idiot and did not block it and thats when Wandy followed up with a knee which phased Rampage and allowed Wandy to get him in the Muay Thai clinch and finished with the knees. World of MMA: When a moment of silence came about us in our conversation Rampage brought up the recent fight with Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves and asked me about what I thought about it. I responded with a huge smile because I picked the fight exactly with Alves winning via KO early in the fight. He said that he didnt think that Thiago was going to beat him standing and made a comment about how Hughes came out in southpaw stance in one round perhaps in an attempt to bamboozle Alves but it didnt work and he made the comment that, "thats no what made him the champ." He then asked me how well I was able to call the fights and when I told him I was at 68% on mmaplayground.com He gave me a compliment with a smile saying that 50% is good.
World of MMA: I made a comment to Rampage if he noticed any difference in size between the 205 fighters in Pride as opposed to the 205 fighters in the UFC and how the 205'ers in the UFC seem to be much larger in size. At first he didn't have any comment and said no. At that point a customer entered the store and interrupted my time with Rampage so I had to step away for five minutes or so but as soon as I walked in to the back of the store he said, "Now that I think of it they are a little bigger in the UFC." He named a couple fighters; Jardine, Chuck, and Forrest. But he didn't give any real explanation for the size difference except for the regulations set forth in the US to make weight. he said when he fought Kevin Randleman, Randleman weighed in at 220 when Rampage met weight at 205 but at the time they didn't give any deductions in the fighters purse for failing to make weight. instead they just said to fight, and that was that.
World of MMA: He talked about when Matt Serra fought GSP the first time, GSP wasnt in his right mind and thats why GSP lost to Serra. He made a comment about how when GSP came out in the second fight he totally dominated Serra because not only was he capable physically but because he was ready and up to par mentally. He said that the mental aspect was the biggest aspect. He mentioned this many times throughout the conversation; the superiority of the mental aspect in a fight. World of MMA: One of the last questions I remember asking Rampage was how much longer do you think you will be fighting. He said he wants to fight for four or five more years. He said he was going to be turning thirty soon and that he wants to fight some more and then go in to acting. In response I said that I think that right now is going to be the best time to make good money in MMA as it is growing so fast. I said that a fight between him and Wandy would be huge for a lot of us MMA fans that have been following the sport for the past six years and that it would be a huge payper view seller. While I was saying this to him he was nodding his head in agreement.
After all was said and done, Rampage took a couple pictures with me and signed some autographs as his car was finishing up with its photo shoot. Before he left he shook my hand and I gave him my appreciation for talkin with me and he said he enjoyed it as well. I shook his hand and told him I would be rooting for him as he goes up agaisnt Griffin. Many people have told me how chill, mellow, or cool Rampage is but after hanging out with him for 90 minutes it showed me how laid back he really is. He is not a man of beating heads in or all about hurting other people. He is a true professional athlete who makes a living in a sport just like any other athlete; Alex Rodriguez or Kobe Bryant. Rampage is man with values and the way he treats strangers was a true mark of how genuine he is. Fan for life. War Ramage!!