Quinton “Rampage” Jackson file photo: Sherdog.com
“Rampage” Jackson had a serious problem before his fight.
“Man, I was hoarse as hell. I couldn't even get my howl out the way
I wanted to. It was rough.”
Jackson, who defeated Lyoto
Machida in the main event of UFC
123 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit, Mich.,
on Saturday night, caught an illness from his son prior to the
bout. At the post-fight news conference, Jackson claimed he was
thankful just to have fought that night.
“I’m just happy I made it to the fight. The fight was almost
canceled a couple of days ago. I caught a fever from my son, and I
was throwing up, and then I had to cut the weight,” said Jackson.
“But I didn't want to let my fans down. We don't always see
eye-to-eye, but [UFC president Dana White] has always been there
for me. I just couldn't tell Dana that I was pulling out of this
fight. He probably would have cussed me the f--k out.”
The former light heavyweight champion barely got by Machida,
earning a razor-thin split decision. In fact, after the fight
Jackson even raised his opponent's hand, figuratively admitting
“To be honest, me and Rampage are getting along again, but he
pissed me off tonight. I scored that fight for Rampage. He was
acting like he lost and was slumping down,” said White. “Machida
put on that burst and then took him down, but you don't win a fight
by landing four of five punches. Rampage was the aggressor the
Jackson, who unified the
Pride 205-pound titles in 2007, entered the arena backed by a
soundtrack that hardcore fans know well. As the iconic drums and
strings of the Pride Fighting Championships theme poured in over
the loudspeaker, Jackson stalked toward the cage with an intense
look in his eyes.
“I just recently went to Japan on the 'The A-Team'
tour. One of the people interviewing me remembered me from Pride.
Back in Pride I used to fight a different style, and he asked me
why I didn't fight like that anymore,” said Jackson. “When I first
came to the UFC, I felt like an outsider. In Pride, everybody knew
me and loved me. Honestly, I make more money now than I did in
Pride. I think I kind of got greedy, so I wanted to come out with
that old spirit. I almost slammed Machida, so I think it kind of
Once both men were in the cage, it was a game of cat and mouse.
Machida, ever circling, generally avoided the powerful Tennessean,
all the while landing kicks to Jackson's legs and ribcage as
“Rampage” moved forward unfazed. In round two, Jackson was even
more aggressive and connected with a hard uppercut to Machida's
jaw. In the final frame, the Brazilian found a home for a hard
counter-straight, followed by an ambush of punches before finally
ending the sequence with a takedown. After talking a considerable
amount of trash regarding his opponent's fighting style, Jackson
readily acknowledged Machida's skill following the contest.
“I just had a one track mind trying to knock him out. It was really
tough to stay on my game plan. I was focusing on cutting off the
cage and staying close to him, but he's really elusive and very
tricky,” said Jackson. “It's different fighting Machida than [it is
to watch him fight]. I remember trying to punch him, and he was
already over on my other side. I got more respect for his style,
because I wish I could move a little better like that. I wouldn't
want to watch it, but I have more respect for it.”