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Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Silva rivalry, September 29 fight

Before his fourth fight against Wanderlei Silva, “Rampage” spoke to Double G Sports about his epic rivalry

One of the last true innovators of the UFC’s infancy stage, Quinton Jackson has done it all. From world titles to history-making moments, “Rampage” has created a legacy that will last a lifetime. The one blip that he has? His record v. Wanderlei Silva. The rivalry these two had helped put MMA on the map, but Silva always had the best of Jackson.

That can all change September 29 when the two face off for the fourth time. This time, it will be inside a Bellator cage. At a Bellator press conference yesterday morning, the fight will be included in an epic fight card that will be watched on the new DAZN streaming service.

Although once a heated rivalry, time has been able to heal some wounds. Jackson (37-13) did show some respect to Silva (35-13-1), calling him a true MMA fighter after handing him, “the two worst ass whoopin’ I ever had.” Now fighting at heavyweight, Jackson has a lot to prove against his rival. “Rampage” is coming off of a unanimous decision loss against Chael Sonnen in the first round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament back in January. He is more than up to the challenge.

Double G Sports had a chance to speak to “Rampage” about his upcoming fight, and what he learned after his last bout against Silva at UFC 92.

Double G Sports: How are you feeling leading up to the fight?

Quinton Jackson: Feeling pretty good, very excited. I don’t really get nervous for a lot of fights. I like the feeling when your fighting someone like Silva. There are some athletes where you don’t respect their styles, but this is very different. Always has been. 

DGS: Did you have any nerves heading into your fights against Silva?

QJ: I had just fought Chuck Lidell 45 minutes prior to facing Wanderlei for the first time (at Pride: Final Conflict 2003). There were no nerves there. Went through something personal the second fight, but I wasn’t nervous then. The third fight (which I won) in the UFC was the one I was very nervous about.

DGS: Any factors that changed your mindset?

QJ: I had just lost the UFC Light Heavyweight Title to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 before that fight. Something was missing at that point, I felt like I hadn’t actually lost my belt. I had a point to prove. What I wanted to do was avenge that loss and the other two against Silva. I always knew I could beat him, but the first two times I was training with a younger team. My partners were jiu-jitsu guys, so I didn’t think I had good sparring partners at that time. If you are fighting someone like Wanderlei, who’s nickname is “axe murderer”, you shouldn’t be sparring with guys who don’t have kickboxing experience.

DGS: Is there anything different you are doing for this specific bout?

QJ: One of the things I never really did my entire MMA career that I’m doing now is lifting weights, enhancing strength and conditioning. I’m also working on a lot of standup and defense. We know each other very well. I know he’s going to try and do those fast hooks and Muay Thai clinch me, and I’m working on avoiding that. 

Jackson also discussed improving his cardio after making the jump from light heavyweight to heavyweight. At the age of 40, he believes the best way to beat Silva is with enough stamina to kill.

DGS: Why is this fight important to you?

QJ: Anytime I can fight Silva is important to me. The guy beat me twice, and I only did it once. I would love to even the score, as I don’t see a fifth fight between us happening.

DGS: So, in the chance that he does beat you (making it 3-1), or you beat him (tying it up), there will definitely not be a fifth fight?

QJ: I can’t imagine that happening. Even by tying the score, I truly believe he wouldn’t go for another fight.

DGS: Any plans after September 29?

QJ: Vacation! Actually, I always want to fight those who beat me in the past. I would love to fight Chael again. He surprised me with his fighting game plan. I don’t normally like to fight “leg humpers”, but I know I can beat him. Whoever ends up winning the (Heavyweight Grand Prix) tournament, I would love a crack at the belt. 

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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