Light heavyweight champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson gets ready for UFC 86

by Jon Finkel

June 9, 2008


In the world of sports, we often wonder what would happen if two coaches were allowed to fight each other. During games, they’re relegated to the sideline, using their players as chess pieces and the refs as whipping boys. But who wouldn’t want to see Mike Ditka and Bill Cowher go toe-to-toe? Or Jack Del Rio square off against Mike Holmgren? Eliminate the middle man, knuckle up, and you can end the arguments about who’s tougher.

On July 5th at UFC 86, we’re getting our wish: Rampage Jackson, coach of Team Rampage from The Ultimate Fighter: Season 7, is fighting Forrest Griffin, coach of Team Griffin.

Rampage, who is undefeated since joining the UFC in February of 2007 with a record of 3-0, recently took time out from his training up in Big Bear, California to talk to Flexonline about feeling like Superman, ketchup on pizza and the future star of Rampage, the movie.


(Jackson is undefeated at 3-0 since moving from Pride to the UFC in February of 2007)

FLEX: You’ve trained in Big Bear before. What’s the attraction to training up in the mountains?
Rampage: I like Big Bear because I can get away from everything and just train. When I’m home, guys are always trying to get me out to go to clubs and stuff. There’s no clubs up here… And I don’t want to offend the women, but there aren’t any good lookin’ women up here either. No distractions. I can stay focused. But there are physical benefits to.

FLEX: Like the altitude?
Rampage: Yeah. It’s hard to train up here because we’re up so high and the air is thin. I feel like if you can survive a training camp here, when you go to sea level, you’ll feel like Superman. I like fighting when I feel like Superman.

FLEX: If you’re feeling like the Man of Steel on July 5th, that’ll be bad news for Forrest Griffin. Are you doing anything different to prepare for him?
Rampage: No. I fight my way no matter what. I don’t know what he’s going to try to do, so I’m not gonna try and figure it out. I’m just going to whip his ass. Simple as that.

(Connecting with Marvin Eastman at UFC 67, when Jackson knocked Eastman out in Round Two)

FLEX: Do you have any extra motivation because you guys coached against each other on The Ultimate Fighter TV show?
Rampage: I don’t need extra motivation to kick someone’s ass. I finished filming that show nine months ago and I never think about it.

FLEX: Did you stay in shape from the end of the show right into training camp or are you getting back in shape now?
Rampage: I let myself go a bit after the show… I went on a bit of an eating binge, but now I’m back full force. I’m eating right. I’m using nutrition supplements for the first time. I’m totally buying into it. I now see the value of nutrition. I don’t even have a cheat day.

FLEX: If you could have a cheat day, what would you have?
Rampage: Oh man, I’d go for a deep dish meat lover’s pizza covered in ketchup.

FLEX: Ketchup on pizza? I’ve heard of ranch dressing on pizza, but not ketchup.
Rampage: Ketchup is great. When the pizza is super hot and you cover it in some cold ketchup, you don’t have to wait to eat it. Ketchup cools it off and you can bite it right away. It’s like adding cold tomato paste. Good stuff. You gotta try it.

FLEX: I definitely will. Since you’re on such a strict eating and workout plan, do you have any movies you watch or music you listen to that keeps you fired up?
Rampage: I listen to whatever my camp puts on, but one of my favorites is the soundtrack from the movie The Last Dragon. It’s great to get you ready for some martial arts. It’s real inspirational.

(Dishing out some punishment en route to scoring a unanimous decision over Dan Henderson at UFC 75)

FLEX: It’s a classic. What about movies? Anything you watch right before a fight?
Rampage: Lately I’ve been watching the movie Cinderella Man before every one of my fights. When I first saw it I was going through some of the things he was going through in the movie. I was down and out and broke … and now, I’m on top of the world. All credit goes to God. Sometimes, I feel like I’m him, Cinderella Man. Like a real life Rocky.

FLEX: When they make the Rampage Jackson biopic that future UFC fighters will watch to get motivated, who do you think could play you?
Rampage: That’s a good question. Hmmm … nobody’s ever asked me that. I’d want somebody funny … someone like Charlie Murphy. Yeah, Charlie Murphy could play me if he beefs up a bit.

FLEX: You hear that Charlie? You better get in the gym.

(Rampage Jackson tells Charlie Murphy to put some ketchup on his pizza and beef up for the role of a lifetime)