Still improving at 32, Jackson remains optimistic about his future in the stacked UFC light-heavyweight division and, while he often talks about one day embracing Hollywood, he first wants to win back his old belt.
Buoyed by the ambitious words of next opponent Matt Hamill, former UFC light-heavyweight champion 'Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson is determined to roll back the years and confound the doubters when the pair meet on Saturday, May 28 in Las Vegas. The heavy-handed pair of Hamill and Jackson collide at UFC 130 in a matter of days and, though some have begun questioning Rampage's commitment to the sport of mixed martial arts, he insists his focus has never been sharper. “My main motivation is to win, but I think Matt made a mistake when he said he's going to break my will and that I'm going to overlook him,” says Jackson. “That actually lit a fire under my ass and made me train harder, just so that I can break his will. I want to outclass him. “That's why I worked a lot on my wrestling, extra on my cardio, and extra on getting up off of my back, just in case he does take me down. Honestly, in the beginning, I wasn't 100% motivated until he said that.” Known for his heavy hands, granite chin and aggressiveness, Jackson is considered one of the premier strikers in all of mixed martial arts. On May 28 he confronts Hamill, a fellow puncher, but also someone respected for his wrestling and ground control. Despite a penchant for a punch-up, Rampage has prepared accordingly. “I worked on my wrestling a lot for this fight,” admits Jackson. “I actually always work on my wrestling a lot. I work on the same things every camp, but when I get in the fight it just depends on what I feel like doing and how I feel like fighting. Still, I worked on my wrestling a lot for this fight because I really respect Hamill's wrestling. “My manager was complementing on my spar the other night night and my trainer this morning said I look way better than I did for my (Lyoto) Machida camp, and I was in really great shape for the Machida fight. So I've improved a lot since then.” Still improving at 32, Jackson remains optimistic about his future in the stacked UFC light-heavyweight division and, while he often talks about one day embracing Hollywood, he first wants to win back his old belt. “I like to be an exciting fighter - that's what I want to be remembered for most - but, if I get the belt, then that's good too,” says Rampage. “You want to be the best.”