Well what’s next for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson? He has defeated the now reborn Machida in a very ugly fight (Jackson had a virus and Machida had a hernia), then he goes on to pick apart Matt Hamill in a 15 minute counter fest (Which I enjoyed very much). But now what? Many are calling for a title shot to hopefully bring out the Jackson of old, but there is a problem with that, Jackson in all reality has maybe four or five fights left in his career. Rampage has longed to get “his belt” back and rightfully so, as in my honest opinion he never lost it. Jackson beat Griffin, the thing was Jackson didn’t DESTROY Griffin so he was robbed out of the decision. I have seen that bout 25 times, no exaggerating and every time I get a score of 48-46 for Jackson never any other score. Jackson hasn’t DESTROYED anyone in quite some time, actually Rampage hasn’t scored a KO since turning 30 and he is now 32.
Last night proved Rampage isn’t Rampage anymore; he is now just simply Quinton Jackson, a hard hitting boxer-esque mixed martial artist. Does he have power? HELL YES!, does he have a ground game? A HIGHLY underrated one, does he have the skills to be champion again? Again the answer is YES, but here is the question to ask, Does He Want To? Only he knows for sure. Jackson said he was leaving MMA at 35 years old, that basically leaves us guessing how many more times will we see him fight in the Octagon. Will we see three more fights or six? The answer to that is probably three, who is left at 205 to face? Jackson has very few fight options left, but that happens when you fight the best and beat damn near all of them. So what’s left for Jackson?
UFC President Dana White addressed the possibility of Jackson challenging for the light heavyweight title in the fall, stating that a title shot would depend on the severity of an apparent hand injury that Rampage suffered last year.
“Obviously, Rampage came out and looked good in the beginning [against Hamill]. He gassed out halfway through the fight. I say it all the time: the guy has got to stay busy, After the fight, Rampage said he had a fractured hand. That sucks. Hopefully it’s not and we can keep him busy. He’s one of the best of the world. When he’s on, he’s on.”
Even though Jackson managed to earn the W Saturday, the injury that slowed him against Hamill was originally sustained away from the cage and the training room.
“Honestly, I hurt my hand in Japan back in December, [around] Christmas,” said Jackson. “[I was] drunk and [play] fighting around with my friend… I thought it would heal up.”
Jackson was honest when speaking of the Hamill bout, stating there was room for improvement despite getting the win. This is how I saw the entire fight…The former champion avoided ALL of Hamill’s takedown attempts stuffing him at will and then made him pay with counter punches after most of the failed shoot attempts. “I was OK with my performance, but I wanted to do a little bit more. I knew I could stay on my feet with Matt Hamill,” said Jackson. “Matt had a great game plan. As soon as I got in there with him, I saw how far away he was standing so he could take me down. I wanted to come in and put some bungalows on him… but I’ll live.”
Jackson expressed his disappointment for not being able to deliver the knockout against his opponent that fans have literally been waiting years to see again. “I wanted a knockout. You guys know how I am,” said Jackson. “Matt has never been knocked out before. I found that out a couple of days ago and I didn’t know that. I saw that as a personal challenge. I don’t think nobody is going to be able to knock him out. He’s tough. I think Matt has got a long future in this sport. I’m telling you, I was trying to knock his head off.”
Jackson forgot one thing however, current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was on the verge of putting Hamill to sleep before landing an illegal elbow and getting DQ’d. Many feel Jones won that fight by KO/TKO including myself. Rampage has two grudge matches he could settle before the champion, but why? Rashad Evans CAN NOT beat an in shape Jackson and everyone knows it even Evans, and Lyoto Machida just KO’d a 48 year old man with a Mr. Miyagi Karate Kid crane kick to keep his job, so he has his own work to do still.
In all honesty, Jackson should get his title shot just to clear up his future and the current cluster atop of the 205 pound rankings. If Jackson faces Jones and loses, Jackson can have nothing but marquee blockbuster super fights for the remainder of his career, which is what everyone really wants. But, if Jackson wins the title there will be another reign of Rampage, but for how long? I feel 100% in my heart Jackson’s next fight should be one we have been yearning for, the one which will have the KO (Although not by Soccer Kick this time, see where I’m going with this?) the one fight that is about something more than skill, it is all about PRIDE(pun intended), has everyone forgotten the man they call “Shogun”?