Image via Daniel Herbertson
The UFC held a press conference for the February 25th UFC 144 show in Tokyo today, and had a bunch of fighters in attendance. The two biggest names were UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who will be defending his title against Ben Henderson on the card, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who will be facing Ryan Bader in the co-main. Rampage had the most interesting stuff to say (as expected), and touched on why he prefers fighting in Japan to fighting in America. And even goes as far as saying he prefers Japanese fans (Audio via Dan Herbertson, transcription via MMA Mania):
"Back when I was fighting here, I had so much energy. I just wanted to put on a good show for the fans because all the energy they give. In America, you're under so much pressure to win at all costs because the fans talk s**t to you if you lose even if it's a good, exciting fight. In Japan, it's just a different energy. Who knows? Maybe I'll take more chances and not care because it's all about the crowd. I react to the crowd. I don't care about the people watching on TV ... In Japan, I used to slam a lot and put on more of a show because the energy from the fans gave me power and I don't feel the same energy in the US. So, I can't honestly say I improved or evolved in a good way since leaving Japan. I'm all about putting on an exciting fight in Japan. One thing I love about Japanese fans and why I love them the most is that they don't care if you win or lose. All they care is if you have samurai spirit, that you put on a good fight. That's why Japanese fans are my favorite. And American fans are jealous that I say that all the time."
While Jackson has arguably been more successful in the UFC, winning the UFC light heavyweight title and main-eventing most shows he's on, he definitely has a point about his fighting style changing. Will Rampage return to his old ways in his bout against Bader? We'll see on February 25th.