Here’s the plot: there’s this fighter who grew up poor and used to make a little side-money as an enforcer/debt collector. He later becomes beloved by his fans for his hard-hitting fighting style and warrior mentality. After starting out in small-time local bouts, he eventually works his way up to the big stage and a title shot for the championship of the world. He is pretty much living the American Dream.
But this isn’t Rocky Balboa. This is the true story of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. And his sport isn’t boxing. It’s Mixed Martial Arts, a hybrid of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu and many other combat sports. Also known as MMA (don’t call it “Ultimate Fighting”), it’s one of the hottest, fastest growing sports in the United States.
Since “Rampage” Jackson has fought most of his career for PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan, he may not yet be a household name here in America, but hardcore fans know him as the last man to have ever beaten arguably the most famous MMA fighter in the world today, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell.
The TKO loss to Rampage is the only one in Chuck’s career that The Iceman has never avenged. Will there be a sequel where Rampage will once again square off against his Mohawked nemesis just like Rocky vs. Clubber Lang (Mr. T)?
Now that Rampage has been signed by the UFC, the biggest MMA organization in America, the answer is YES. But Rampage’s story is different from Rocky’s in some major ways. First of all, Rampage hails from the South (Memphis, Tennessee to be exact), not Philly. He’s not Italian, and he’s not a slow-witted lug like Stallone’s alter-ego, but is known for his big personality and outrageous sense of humor.
DUB had the opportunity to catch up with Rampage in sunny Irvine, California, where he now resides, to get his insights into his fighting career, his whips and his future:
DUB: Explain what Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is to people who don't know about the sport.
Rampage: It’s the newest thing; it’s the best thing happening. It’s like a true fight, but it’s safer than boxing.