UFC 144 - Rampage Jackson interview
MF spoke to top UFC light heavyweight fighter Rampage Jackson before his UFC 144 fight with Ryan Bader this weekend.
You're fighting Ryan Bader this weekend. How do you see that fight going down?
I see myself beating him up. I'm ready for it. It's three five-minute rounds and I've been training for three six-minute rounds, so I'll be ready to go.
You're much more experienced than Bader - you've fought almost everyone in the light heavyweight division. Do you think that's going to help?
I don't know. You tell me. Do you think it's going to help? It didn't help me against Forrest [Griffin, to whom Jackson lost the light heavyweight title at UFC 86 in 2008].
You've fought (and lost to) the current light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. What would your gameplan be if you got a second shot at him?
I think you've got to somehow take him down, somehow get him on his back, ground and pound him. I don't think he's got a great chin. I think someone fast can counter him, hit him with a big shot or a haymaker.
You're fighting in the first UFC Japan event since UFC 29 and you've said before that you really like the country. What is it that draws you to it?
It's a great country - the people are great, the fans are great. One guy, my biggest fan, he asked me to bench-press him, so I bench-pressed him and slammed him. The next time I saw him I found out that I'd broken his ankle. I was like ,'I'm so sorry,' and he was going, 'No, it's the best thing that ever happened to me'. He had this beautiful girlfriend, and he let me kiss her. He's my number one fan. He's got a different girlfriend now, though.
You've also capitalised on your fame by starring in the recent A-Team movie as BA Baracus. Are there any other iconic characters you'd like to play on the big screen?
Luke Cage, the comic book character. He's like a black Superman and he's got my style, he wears a chain. And he's like me - he likes to get paid. Did you know that? That Luke Cage likes to get paid?
It rings a bell...
Don't lie, you didn't know that. Also, if they ever remade Blade, I'd like to be Blade.
Have you met Wesley Snipes? He's a big fan of martial arts.
Yeah, I've met him a couple of times, he's a cool guy. I don't care if he didn't pay his taxes, he's cool.
Back to Saturday night and Henderson/Edgar, a huge title fight in the lightweight divisions. Any predictions?
I don't like to make predictions. I think it's disrespectful to fighters. I'm a fighter - I look at it a bit differently. If I make a prediction it's like I'm down on one guy. I know both guys and they're both great guys, great fighters. I don't want either of them to not get paid. I predict an exciting fight, that's all I'm predicting.
Can you make a prediction for your own fight?
All I'm saying is: use the restroom, get your snacks, get whatever you need to get done before my fight starts. It's going to be an exciting fight and I don't want anybody missing any of it. I'm ready to go hard for the whole fight and either I'm going to kick his ass or he's going to kick mine.
Jackson fights Bader at UFC 144 on 26th January. You can watch it on ESPN HD (opens in new tab) in the UK.
Also, don't to forget to pick up a copy of the new UFC game Undisputed 3 (opens in new tab). With its innovative gameplay, mind-blowing graphics, Pride mode and more than 150 playable characters, it's the best MMA game on the block. And because you can play as both Bader and Jackson, you and a mate can face-off to get a feel for what might actually happen in the real bout. Check out the trailer:
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From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.