With how much he’s complained about everything from money, to respect to the way his opponents fight, combined with all the jerky things he’s done in recent years (take. your. pick), it can be difficult to remember that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is an all-time great and future hall of famer. A humble and touching interview that he gave to Fuel TV after losing a decision to Glover Teixeira in Chicago at the UFC on Fox makes it easier to appreciate Quinton as the hard fighting, fan-friendly guy that he has been for so long.
The interview also makes us worry for him a bit. First, the good things.
Jackson gave his opponent credit for beating him without making silly excuses. “Glover was just the better man tonight,” Jackson said.
“Glover did what he had to do. He took it to me standing up and he took me down a few times. He did what he had to do to win…Fighters like Glover is what makes MMA.”
Jackson also said that his body felt great during the fight and didn’t blame his coaches for the loss. He was sullen but honest with his audience and himself, it seemed.
“Its hard to swallow when you get your ass kicked but its part of the job,” he said.
And fighting is a job that Jackson says that he still has a desire to hold. “I still want to fight. Its still in my heart,” the former champ said.
The fighter openly expressed doubt as to whether, thirteen years into a legendary career, he could still compete with “the top-level people anymore.” Usually when a competitor realizes this, it is a good time to walk away and retire.
Self-doubt and diminishing returns do not make for safe and graceful career endings. Jackson said that he still wants to fight, but may have to just be rolled out for one-off fights, for entertainment.
“I think I just have to listen to my reality and see,” he said. “I’ve been fighting for thirteen years, the game has changed a lot and maybe I’ll just be one of those fighters that comes and excites the crowd – be like Gary Goodridge, one of those guys that comes and puts on a great show. Gary Goodridge is a great ambassador for our sport.”
Goodridge is a warrior and indeed a fantastic ambassador for MMA and sports in general. He is also a cautionary tale.
Goodridge, still just a young man, is already suffering through the effects of serious brain damage sustained over the course of a fighting career that he extended on for too long. Promoters will always be willing to give cash to exciting, great fighters like Jackson and Goodridge but hopefully “Rampage” doesn’t walk willfully into exploitative situations like he seems content to do.
What do you make of Jackson’s fight Saturday and his interview above, nation?