Rampage Jackson Re-Signs With UFC

Quinton Rampage Jackson

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is back in the UFC. After three victorious fights in rival promotion Bellator, Jackson makes a quick return to the Octagon and will make his second UFC debut in 2015. The promotion confirmed the news late on Saturday night.

“It hasn’t really hit me, but it sounds like most people are happy for me to come back,” Jackson told UFC.com. “I feel like I can put on some exciting fights. I don’t feel like there are a whole lot of people out there putting it on the line the way I do.”

Jackson initially garnered success in Japan fighting for Pride but made his way back to the United States once the Asian promotion closed down. Rampage won the UFC light-heavyweight title against Chuck Liddell in just his second fight for the promotion and defended it against Dan Henderson to unify the Pride middleweight title with its UFC counterpart.

Jackson, though, lost his title to Forrest Griffin and never regained it. He failed to fire against Jon Jones in his only title fight since then – a loss which turned out to be the first of a three fight skid which saw Jackson part ways with the UFC.

After that, the Bjorn Rebney led Bellator signed Jackson with the promise of titles, pro-wrestling stardom and feature movie and television roles in his future – none of which really came to pass. Jackson took impressive wins over Joey Beltran and Christian M’Pumbu before winning a tight decision over Mo Lawal – a fight which turned out to be his last for the promotion.

Bellator’s recent changing of the guard from the aforementioned Rebney to former Strikeforce president Scott Coker seemed to sour Jackson’s relationship with the promotion and initiated his release.

“I left, got my knees fixed and healed up and I got excited about fighting and it showed in my training camps,” he told UFC.com. “I don’t feel like I was fighting the same caliber of guys that was in the UFC, but at the same time my training camps went a lot smoother and made me more excited about being a fighter.”

“I went out in the world and I looked at the other side and said ‘man, the grass looks greener over there across the street.’ So I ran across the street and looked at the grass and it got ran over by the lawnmower. (Laughs) Sometimes you think the grass is greener and you’ve got to take that chance. I never would have known if I hadn’t gone out there.”

Now, Rampage returns to a UFC light-heavyweight division badly needing stars with fights against Dan Henderson, Shogun Rua, Anthony Johnson and Ovince St-Preux all mouth watering possibilities.

“I just want to put on good, exciting fights,” he said. “I don’t really care about fighting people like Dan Henderson because I already beat him. I know it was a close fight, but I know I beat him and that was a historic night for me. That was the night I unified the belts and it was one of my favorite moments in my fighting career. But guys like Shogun (Rua), I really want to fight him. I love Shogun as a person, he’s a great guy, and a great warrior, but I want fights like that against Shogun, and Rashad and Glover and Jon Jones. The guys I really want to face again are the people that beat me.”

“I’m gonna bring the fans exactly what they need,” Jackson said. “They need some excitement and they need some fun. I like to keep people laughing, I like to keep them yelling and screaming and I want to keep people on their toes. The UFC needs Rampage and I’m coming back full force.”

Although, according to Bellator CEO Scott Coker, it may not be all that clear cut.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma