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Thursday June 12, 2008 11:29 PM PST

 

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson Q & A

By Gary Herman

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is on a hot streak. First, he knocked out Chuck Liddell to win the UFC light heavyweight championship. Then, he defeated Dan Henderson to capture the Pride FC championship – a belt that eluded him for over six years. Now, Jackson has a chance to defeat one of the most popular fighters in the sport when he takes on Forrest Griffin at UFC 86.

We recently caught up with Jackson to discuss the fight with Griffin, his thoughts on the UFC, and how he becomes so focused inside the cage.

Question: How’s everything going with your training camp leading up to fight with Griffin?

Rampage Jackson: Everything is going good. The training camp is great. I’m above schedule in my cardio because I like to peak. I’ll have some extra cardio this time to whip up on Forrest. I think everything is going according to plan.

Q: Does the extra cardio come from how Forrest looked in his last fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua?

RJ: I didn’t even watch that fight on tape yet. I was there, but that fight didn’t impress me much. Shogun wasn’t the same. If I watch that fight and try to go off that fight, I’d be misled because Shogun wasn’t 100%. If Shogun was 100% and fights like he normally fights, that would be the fight to watch. Heck, Shogun’s girlfriend could have beat him that night.

Q: What do you think about guys like Shogun and Mirko Cro Cop having mixed results coming over to the U.S.?

RJ: Things happen. I think Shogun took the fight with Forrest because he needed it. I don’t think he should have taken the fight on such short notice. I’m a fighter. I can tell how the fighter fought in the past and how they are fighting on that day. I could tell something was up with Shogun that he was hurt. With Cro Cop, his first fight in the UFC he had the UFC jitters. It’s just hard to get used to the UFC.

Q: What was it like to be on the Ultimate Fighter show with Forrest Griffin? Was it hard to have to see him so often?

RJ: Nah – it wasn’t hard. I didn’t see him every day.

Q: Did you and Forrest have any animosity during the show?

RJ: We got upset with each other once or twice. When I thought one of my fighters got a bad decision, I think he said something he shouldn’t have said and that was it.

Q: It seems like the UFC is setting Chuck Liddell as a potential challenger after the Forrest Griffin fight. Is that a fight you’d be interested in having again?

RJ: I don’t care who I fight. I fight for money. I don’t care. I’m only worried about the fight with Forrest Griffin.

Q: Like with Dan Henderson, it seems like you are able to get along with your opponents prior to the fight, but then when the fight starts, you flip the switch and are ready to go. What happens to you when you change from being the friendly guy to the Ultimate Fighter champion?

RJ: It’s time to work. I feel like it’s fight time. I’m not friends with nobody until the cage door opens after the fight. I love everybody, but if you’re fighting me then it’s a fight. I was the same way when playing football. When I was on the field, it was time to go.

Q: Recently, a friend of yours in Tito Ortiz as well as Randy Couture left the UFC because they didn’t like how they were being treated. Since you’ve been in the UFC for a couple of years now, how do you feel that you’ve been treated?

RJ: I am happy with how the UFC is treating me. They are treating me better than the organization I came from – Pride. I can’t complain. Money can always be better. Fighters have to fight each other. We are the ones that have to train hard and fight each other. We could always use more money. It didn’t matter if I make a billion dollars – then I’d want two billion.

Like I said, I am very happy. I could have it worse. As a matter of fact, it was worse in that other organization.

Q: One of the guys from the other organization is Fedor Emelianenko. He always seems to looking at places besides the UFC. What do you think of Emelianenko’s decisions?

RJ: It ain’t none of my business what he does. I don’t think one second about Fedor. He’s a nice guy. I love him, but I don’t think about his career. The only career I think about is mine.

Q: Switching gears a little bit – you got the chain, you got the howl – it’s very reminiscent of the Junkyard Dog. Were you a big fan of his growing up?

RJ: Actually, I liked the Junkyard Dog, but it’s kind of weird but I was a real big fan of the Ultimate Warrior growing up. I was the Ultimate Warrior every Halloween. I’m a big fan of Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. It’s a weird coincidence that I started wearing the chain. My little brother gave me the chain. He thought it would be a good idea. I didn’t even realize people would compare me to Junkyard Dog until somebody said I howl like him. I think I’m a wolf and people think I’m a dog. I could swear I’m a wolf because I howl and stuff, but people keep calling me a dog and comparing me to the Junkyard Dog. I guess that’s what I get for wearing a chain.

Q: Speaking of non-MMA activities - what’s the scoop on the new A-Team movie?

RJ: People spread rumors and stuff. I haven’t even auditioned for the movie. After the fight, I have to go do some screen tests. It’s a movie I want to get, but I went on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, and he assumed I already had the role so I hope the media isn’t annoying the movie people. I definitely don’t have the role yet.

Q: What’s it like for you in the few weeks leading up to the fight? Will you be watching a lot of footage?

RJ: I’ll be training. I don’t watch a lot of video because I just like to fight the way I fight. He has to adapt to me. I’m not worried about what he’s going to do.


 
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