Quinton Rampage Jackson is a former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, a Pride standout, and one of MMA's biggest stars. But in recent years, he's shown an increasing level of frustration with MMA. From his "retirement" in 2009 to today, Rampage has, at times, looked more focused on his numerous non-MMA projects than his fighting career.
After his UFC 144 upset loss to Ryan Bader, Rampage was very vocal in how he felt he had been mistreated by the UFC, letting a lot of allegations fly against Dana White and Joe Silva and clearly stating: "I don't wanna fight for the UFC no more." With one fight left on his contract, it's very possible the former champion may have just one more Octagon appearance before walking away.
Our SBN colleagues at MMA Mania spoke to Rampage about that final fight, and his comments showed his continued frustration:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): This is the last fight in your contract. Are you concerned at all that [the UFC] might try to bury you like they did with Arlovski in the last fight of his contract?
Quinton Jackson: Actually, I wouldn't care if they did that. I don't care. They can do whatever they want to do. The reasons I made the decision to leave the UFC are the same reasons I left Pride. They can do what they want. I don't care.
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The fight Hemminger refers to here is former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski's final fight with the company, where the former poster fighter for the Heavyweight division was pushed to an unaired prelim against Jake O'Brien in his final fight with the company.
Given Rampage's star power, it's hard to imagine him in the same situation, but if Dana and company are angry enough, it's definitely an option.
More from the interview, including news on Rampage's rehab of his knee injury and his current timetable for a return to the Octagon in the full entry.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Everyone's always asking about an update on your knee and everything. I know you had surgery on your right knee and you had an MRI or a scope on your left. I'm wondering, what was the results of the tests on your left knee? What did the MRI end up telling you?
Quinton Jackson: Well actually, my left knee is not torn yet. It's fraying which means that it's starting to tear. That was from when Jon Jones kicked my knee backwards during the fight. I'm healing up and I'm still in rehab.
Actually once I'm done on the phone here, I'm going to the gym. I'm back to training and stuff now. I just started back. My doctor said I could run the day after my birthday on June 21st so I can't wait to get back and start training and see how that knee is feeling and see when my next fight's gonna be.
I'm just trying to move forward with my fighting career. My left knee is starting to feel better. I'm not gonna do anything to it just yet. I'm just gonna do my rehab and go from there.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Wonderful. I was going to ask if you were still on track to have your first run this week, but you answered it for me already.
Quinton Jackson: Yeah, I'm going to put some stress on it and see how it goes.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned a couple months ago that you still felt you could fight another 10 years now. Is that still something in your head or are you toning it back a little bit?
Quinton Jackson: Well that was before I had surgery I was talking like that. Let's see how this knee's doing. I never had surgery before this and I hope I never need surgery again. Being sideline and having the rehab process. That was something I really didn't like.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, that was your first time having surgery, so that definitely must have been a really different experience.
Quinton Jackson: Yeah, I definitely don't want to have surgery again. That's why I'm trying to avoid surgery on the left knee....Right now I'm just concentrating on healing myself and coming back 100 percent. I never want to fight injured again. I've made my mind up. My next fight, I want to be 100 percent or as close to 100 percent as I can possibly be.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Even if you were fighting in Japan again and you were hurt, you'd just have to back out because you wanted to make sure you were fully healthy?
Quinton Jackson: Yes. It don't matter where I'm fighting at. Like I've said, no one appreciates it [when I fight hurt], so I'm not gonna do bad for my health and I'm not gonna fight injured every again. No matter where I'm fighting at. If I'm hurt, I'm backing out.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You started up on TRT because of your knee injury. Is that something you're going to keep doing once your knee is fully healed?
Quinton Jackson: Well I'll have to talk to my doctor. If I talk to my doctor and my levels are still low and he suggests that I stay on it, then I will. If not, then I won't.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Last question before I let you go. You've mentioned that you were hoping to get back around September. Are you still hoping for that or are you still not 100 percent sure yet?
Quinton Jackson: September or October, we'll see. I've got a lot of weight to lose. (laughs)