Time may be winding down in the colorful career of UFC superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but when you hear him talk, there’s not the slightest hint of it.
He’s still the same brash smack talker that as a young man took the sport of mixed martial arts to new heights and became something of a UFC legend in the process. Just ahead of what’s likely to be one of his final bouts against Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal on Friday, Mar. 31 at Bellator 175, the soon-to-be 39-year-old preached to Yahoo Sports on a variety of subjects, making it clear that he’s still one of the most entertaining and outspoken personalities in the sport.
About his distaste for fighters who’ve brought wrestling into the Octagon, Jackson says that style of fighting is stifling the sport.
“…I think those guys are messing up our sport,” he said. “Our sport has gotten so popular with all the excitement and the people like Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Tito Ortiz. Tito was a wrestler, but he’d take you down and ground and pound you. Those are the guys who made this sport super popular…But then you get guys who just like hugging people on the ground…I don’t want to fight that way. I want to have exciting fights. If we ask fans to buy tickets and come down and sit there and watch fights for hours, we have to give them their money’s worth.”
Jackson also talked about his respect for Conor McGregor, but said he was the king of the trash talkers long before McGregor came on the scene.
“I was the first Conor. I was Conor Mc-[N-word],” he continued, adding that McGregor’s brand of braggadocio is somehow acceptable while his wasn’t. “He can talk and say what he wants and nobody opens their mouth and says anything negative about what he is saying…I’ve been doing the same stuff, but everybody’s trying to shut me up…What I do is try to entertain people. It’s all I’ve ever tried to do. I’m an entertainer and I’m always going to try to entertain people.”