There aren’t many fighters that leave the UFC while in the midst of their prime, but that’s exactly what Quinton “Rampage” Jackson plans to do later this month after his Jan. 26 fight against Glover Teixeira.
The move isn’t being done all willy-nilly, as Jackson has been adamant about leaving for months, once his contract with the biggest promotion in mixed martial arts expires.
The 34-year-old’s “last” fight – where he hopes to end a two-fight losing streak – will be nationally broadcast on FOX and could be the perfect event to help solidify his future. After the event, Jackson will likely test free-agency and see what other MMA ventures are waiting for him. It doesn’t look likely that the UFC will be able to woo Jackson – one of its biggest fighters – into signing a new deal.
“I don't want to renegotiate with them,” Jackson admitted to MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “I think the UFC don't know how to treat the athletes, in my opinion. I feel like the fighters do a lot for the sport and I feel like we're not taken care of well enough.”
Jackson believes the UFC is as happy with him leaving as he is to walk away. Jackson will leave the UFC after six years, 12 fights and a title run that was one of the most watched in the company’s history. In 2006, Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, acquired Jackson and several other assets from the World Fighting Alliance as the company ceased operations. He made his debut at UFC 67 and knocked out Marvin Eastman in the second round. The following year Jackson fought in the biggest match of his career; a bout for the Light Heavyweight Championship in UFC 71 against Chuck Liddell.
The fight was built up for months and months but it only took about 90 seconds for Jackson to get the best of Liddell, sending him to the mat with a strong right hook to the jaw. He landed a few more clean shots on the ground before the referee stopped the match. Jackson upheld his title by unanimous decision against Dan Henderson in UFC 75 before eventually losing to Forrest Griffin by unanimous decision at UFC 86 -- all of this while portraying the role of B.A Baracus in 2010’s The A-Team remake.
Instead of worrying about his future, Jackson is more focused on Teixeira, as the fight gets closer. The two were set to square-off against one another back in October at UFC 153 but Jackson was forced to pull out of the event due to an injury. He was replaced by Fabio Maldonado.
“I’ve been mad at UFC for long time, and it turned me into a very negative person,” he added. “I just want to be a positive person. That's the first thing I do is get rid of all the negativity out of my life. I had a lot of negative friends, even some negative family members, and I'm getting rid of the UFC out of my life.”
We expect that he might take some time off before making his next career decision but there’s no doubt that he still wants to continue to fight at the highest level. He’s unhappy with the UFC, sure, but his Jan. 26 bout won’t be the last we hear from one of the sport’s most elite fighters.
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