It’s official, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s days as a title contender in the light heavyweight division are effectively over. His co-main event clash against Ryan Bader at UFC 144, more or less, sealed his fate with regards to vying for the championship ever again.
Heading into the Japanese event, what the fans were expecting was a rejuvenated and replenished Rampage, the one who gave 205-lb. titlist Jon “Bones” Jones a run for his money, and the same Rampage who’d be sounding off about how he wants another shot at UFC gold.
Instead what we got was a lackadaisical Rampage with an even lacklustre performance. Was his alleged injury (the reason he failed to make weight) prior to the bout somehow to blame for his poor exhibition? We’ll have to wait and hear from the man.
What was evident is that Rampage no longer belongs in the Octagon or UFC for that matter, not necessarily because of his poor showing, but due to the fact he’s openly stated that he rather be elsewhere than contest in the sport of MMA. His ideal setting would preferably be in a four-cornered ring or better yet, shooting his next movie role.
Rampage was up against an elite wrestler in Bader as well as a fighter with relative knockout power, though if he’d thought the “Darth” was going to stand and bang with him, he was in for a rude awakening.
Bader chose to do what he does best—utilize his wrestling pedigree to the fullest, which he did for almost the entirety of the bout to get the unanimous decision.
That said, if he’d chosen to trade with Rampage, what were the odds of the latter scoring a KO? The last time the former UFC lightweight champion knocked out an opponent was back in 2008, and that was against the now fragile-chinned Wanderlei Silva.
If Rampage did save a little bit of face in front of the Japanese contingent, then it was his trademark slam, however, it failed to achieve the desired result—a win.
Where Rampage goes from here is anyone’s guess, but one thing for sure, he’s not going anywhere near a 205-lb. crown.
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