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 Vegas.
“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: his weight.
“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 lifestyle.”
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 Lyoto 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.”view original article >>
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