Never let it be said that Quinton
“Rampage” Jackson does not have an exit strategy.
In the lead-up to his pivotal UFC
130 confrontation with Matt Hamill,
the former UFC 205-pound champion has remarked that he would like
to retire by the age of 35 to pursue other endeavors, a statement
that he stood by at Wednesday’s pre-fight press conference in Las
“I made mind up when I first started fighting that I wasn’t going
to fight past 35. When I hit 35, I feel like I’ll be an old man in
this sport,” Jackson, 32, told the media in attendance.
“I’ve got a lot of things I want to do. I’ve got these finger-paint
things I love doing. I’m actually getting good at it now. I made a
peacock the other day, and it was very beautiful,” Jackson joked.
“So, when I retire, I think I’ll be making a lot of finger-paints
and putting them around the house. I might sell some on eBay. If
y’all are interested in it, let me know. I’ll make more.”
Finger-painting skills notwithstanding, a more realistic means of
income when Jackson’s fighting career concludes might come from his
work as an actor. Jackson (Pictured; file photo) has already
starred in the 2010 film adaptation of the popular 1980s TV series
“The A-Team,” as well as filling a cameo role in a 2006 episode of
“The King of Queens.”
Before he reaches full-time actor status, however, Jackson will
need to take care of business against Hamill, a heavy-handed,
three-time NCAA Division III national wrestling champion who rides
a five-fight win streak into their May 28 showdown at the MGM Grand
Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“Matt Hamill is a very worthy opponent. He’s a great wrestler and
he’s really tough,” said Jackson. “I really enjoy being the
underdog most of the time, but I just take fights as they come.
Matt can have underdog status this time. I’ll give it to him.”
Though Hamill presents a tough and dangerous test for the former
champion, Jackson claimed that he is well-prepared thanks to
conquering another battle that has plagued him in the recent past:
“Coming in a little lighter just helps my weight cut. When I used
to fight in Pride, I was a single parent and I used to eat fast
food all the time, and I would have to cut 15 pounds before every
fight,” explained Jackson. “I really got sick of that over the
years, so I got accustomed to just cutting like six pounds since
I’ve been in the UFC. But, recently, I’ve been blowing up between
my fights and being real lazy. I’m sick and tired of that
Jackson specifically felt the negative effects of this way of
living when he was unexpectedly asked to fight then-light
heavyweight champ Mauricio Rua
in March after Rashad
Evans was forced to withdraw from UFC 128. Out of shape,
Rampage declined the offer, a fact that he says served as
motivation for his upcoming bout with Hamill.
“I really regret getting heavy after my November fight [with
Machida], because I couldn't fight ‘Shogun’ when Rashad got
injured. That was a kick in the ass for me,” said Jackson. “I was
really excited about getting in shape for this fight. I haven’t
seen my abs for a long time. When you’re a professional athlete and
you’re disgusted when you look in the mirror, that’s embarrassing.
So, I’m going to try to keep my weight down.”
With Jackson’s renewed dedication to keeping his waistline in line,
the fighter might just extend his self-imposed retirement deadline.
However, Jackson asserted that he would continue to fight only out
of the desire to provide for his loved ones; his hope remains that
he will be able to stick to his own timeline.
“I always wanted to retire at 35, but if need be, I’ll keep
fighting. I keep it real about what’s driving me to do what I do. I
want to put my little sister through college and I want what’s best
for her,” said Jackson. “I want my mom to drive a nice car and live
in a nice house, and I want my dad to have the same. So, if I’m 35
and it’s necessary for me to fight, I will. But I would like to
retire at 35 to do other things.
“I see so many pro-wrestlers and football players and boxers that
don’t have anything after their careers are over. I have kids who I
have to look after. I want to put some of them through college, and
with some of my kids, I’m going to need lawyers’ fees. Y’all laugh,
but it’s true.”