Rampage Jackson finds love for MMA again, accepts challenge from Matt Mitrione

Noel Vasquez - Getty Images for Waltrip Racing

Quinton Jackson sat down in-studio with Ariel Helwani to discuss how he found the fire to fight again, his last bout with Ryan Bader, why he pulled out of his fight with Glover Teixeira, and much more. He even accepts a challenge from a UFC heavyweight.

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is one of the more mercurial figures in MMA. One day he loves the UFC, the next day he is just fighting out his contract and going to go where the money is. Or he's dancing. In a wide-ranging interview on The MMA Hour With Ariel Helwani, Rampage filled fans in on where he's at right now - and that's back to loving MMA. And he was in a dancing mood too. Here's what he had to say on a variety of subjects (via MMA Fighting):

On pulling out of his UFC 153 bout with Glover Teixeira, and why he took the fight in the first place::

"You know, in my last fight, I fought injured and had all those problems behind that. I said, I'm not going to risk that again. I said, I'll just pull out of this fight and come back strong. I want my next fight to be as close to 100 percent as possible and show the world what I can do."

...

"I fight to pay my bills. I got kids I've got to put through college, and I got some kids I've got to save up for lawyer fees and bail money. I got things. I like to have fast cars and I like the good life. I like to go in the club and make it rain sometimes. So, I don't fight to be famous. I don’t. So, I don’t care if he’s a big name or a little name. I just want to fight, put on an exciting fight and get my bills paid."

On why he started losing his love for the UFC, and why he got it back:

"I lost my love when I lost that Forrest [Griffin] fight. I know that I won that fight. Honestly, I wanted to cry racist stuff. I did want to do that. Us black folks, we're good at that … I know I took the fight lightly. I was like, 'Oh, Forrest.' I didn't train my hardest, I was coming off that Dan Henderson fight and I had just a little injury on my knuckle so I didn't keep up training. It was like, 'Oh Forrest, I’ll just knock this guy out.'"

...

"I'm thinking the world hasn’t forgotten about me. I used to be one of the best fighters in the world, and my people out there, they still support me even though I haven't been doing great. It’s giving me back my love for the fight. I want to make the people who still support me proud, and I want to show my family and myself that I can still be one of the best in the world, and I know I can."

On Ryan Bader, the guy he lost to at UFC 144 when he came in injured:

"I just regret losing to a person like Ryan Bader. He sucks. He sucks. I’ll say it to his face. He sucks. He talked all that trash on how he was going to knock me out. Obviously he knew I was injured because I didn't make weight. I talked to him man to man and said, 'Look, lets make it an exciting fight.' I knew there was a chance I was going to lose, but I don't want to lose a boring fight in Japan. He made the fight really boring. I got no respect for a guy like that. He sucks."

Rampage is apparently going to test the waters once he becomes a free agent:

"Me being a free agent is looking very promising right now. I’m not in a rush. I’m not saying the UFC paid me like a slouch. Honestly the UFC pays me pretty good, I have to admit. I’m not a greedy person. I'm happy with it but like I was saying, it's not worth it for the stuff I have to go through with privacy issues. I'm still going to have that elsewhere, but elsewhere is offering me more money."

One humorous part came near the end, when UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione called in to challenge Rampage. Jackson accepted, but both men wanted the fight at a catchweight. Will we ever see the bout? Probably not. But it's an intriguing fight.

Rampage also took a shot at Jon Jones' tactics at UFC 152, says he can still beat him, talks about his relationship with UFC president Dana White, getting off TRT and much more. You can check out the complete transcription here.

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