Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson hasn’t exactly tried to hide that he’s no longer invested in the sport of MMA as he once was. In interviews he often talks about quitting the fight game, or spending time making movies, and in fact in 2009 he even briefly announced his retirement after a falling out with UFC president Dana White.
As he gears up for his latest Octagon encounter, a headline spot at the UFC 130 event with Matt Hamill, it seems those thoughts are still there, and he’s even has a rough idea of when he’d like to call it a day.
“I’ve always said I’ll retire when I’m 35. I don’t want to fight past 35. There are young guys coming in and doing good. I’ve been fighting for a long time and it’s no secret that I don’t fight the same way I used to,” Rampage tells ESPN.
There’s definitely some truth to that last statement. The all-action version of Rampage that fought in PRIDE and in the first couple of years of his stint in the UFC appears to have faded away, and there’s noticably less aggression and urgency about his recent performances.
To be fair part of the blame could be pointed at his latest opponents, with both Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida proving to be awkward stylistic mach-ups for the former champion, but it also feels as if some of the apathy he’s showing towards his fight career outside of the Octagon is manifesting itself in the way he competes.
We should find out for sure whether that’s the case at UFC 130 on May 28th when he faces Hamill, who will more than likely be willing to stand and trade with Jackson in the centre of the cage.
“Matt Hamill’s a tough guy with good wrestling, and he moves forward. So hopefully it’ll be an exciting fight. That’s the most important thing to me. Styles make fights. I’m just gonna concentrate on my game and be exciting,” Rampage says.
If he defeats Hamill that could put him within touching distance of a title shot, and perhaps that could put new fire in the 32 year-old’s belly.
For now though it seems as if he’s just taking one fight at a time.
“Going through each camp I go through all these pains and think, ‘Man I don’t want to do this anymore’. But after the fight I say, ‘OK, I’ll give it one more’. So who knows?”