Once considered one of the most fearless, intense and unbelievably skilled fighters on the planet, former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson seems to have struggled in some of his recent bouts. It's not just in the cage, either. It's outside the cage when he should be preparing for his fights that he just does not seem to be putting in the same type of dedication that he used to.
At UFC 144, that lack of dedication came to a low point when he was defeated relatively easily by former The Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader.
UFC president Dana White has since come out and publicly addressed the situation with Jackson and his future with fighting in a post-fight interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani.
“I’m disappointed," he bluntly said. "I think Rampage is so talented. I just question whether he wants to do this anymore and have been since probably the A-Team movie.”
Jackson has never been a fan of training, even going as far as to say that he hates it at times. But never has he done what he did on Friday afternoon when he stepped on the scale a ridiculous six pounds overweight at 211 pounds for a bout at 205.
The Jackson camp claims that there was an injury that prevented him from making the target weight, but they did not inform Dana White of that any time prior to the day of the weigh-ins.
“I had no clue until the day of the weigh-ins. That’s when they told me,” White said.
After the loss, Jackson did speak to White for a brief moment, apologizing for what had happened both in the fight and at the weigh-ins.
“He said ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I want to fight again’ and ‘I’ll come back’ and ‘I want to be better’, so we’ll see what happens," White said.
There has been some speculation as to whether there really was an injury or if Jackson just wasn't taking this fight as seriously as some he has competed in before, just due to relative lack of name value of Bader.
Jackson has not confirmed this speculation, but the UFC president didn't seem to disagree that it was a possibility.
“I HATE guys saying, ‘I’m not motivated for this fight.’ Well, you better get motivated because guess what – Ryan Bader’s motivated to kick your ass.”
And kick his ass, he did. Bader beat Jackson up for 15 minutes, out-striking him by a total throughout the bout of 109 to 30 according to FightMetric scoring. Bader also added four takedowns throughout the contest compared to just one from Jackson.
Rampage is always going to be looked at as one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport, but when the UFC president is calling someone out for a lack of motivation and desire to fight, it's likely only to lead to one of two things. Either it'll light a fire under him and inspire him to get back to taking things seriously, or he'll take the complete opposite way and that might even be more interesting to see at this point.
Either way, these next few weeks and months could be very interesting for the fighting future of the former champion.
For more MMA news, fighter interviews and opinions, follow Nick Caron: @NicholasCaron.