Jackson Q & A
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.
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
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
RJ: I don’t care who
I fight. I fight for money. I don’t care.
I’m only worried about the fight with
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
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
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
Q: Speaking of non-MMA
activities - what’s the scoop on the new
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.