Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has been a little bit of a personal relations nightmare for himself, in terms of some of his actions inside and outside the Octagon. Let's face it, Jackson is as enigmatic as they get, the Randy Moss of the UFC—one could say—and he's always been that way.
Despite recent events, Jackson has to have earned some brownie points with even his most critical detractors today.
No, he isn't signing a contract extension with the UFC, and yes, he wasn't happy fighting boring wrestlers, but Jackson signed on for a fight that nobody else in the light heavyweight division really wants, and any fight fan out there has to respect that.
Teixeira (18-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has 15 finishes in what is now a 16-fight winning streak, with his latest a submission victory over Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 146. He is a very solid fighter with few holes in his game and is looking to make waves in the UFC after a long career in smaller promotions. Jackson and Teixeira are scheduled to do battle at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
UFC president Dana White offered the Teixeira fight to Mauricio Rua, who flat-out turned it down, according to White.
"[Shogun Rua] said he would actually rather be cut than have to fight [Glover Teixeira]. Dude, nobody wants to fight this guy. Nobody wants to fight this guy," White told Ariel Helwani from FuelTV. "I've never seen a guy at the level Shogun is at not want to fight a guy so bad."
Teixeira is a guy with the skills and record to challenge for the light heavyweight belt, but he doesn't have the name recognition because of having fought outside the UFC for so long.
The UFC light heavies don't want to fight him because a win over him won't change their status in the fans' eyes, and a loss would be terrible, but a likely possibility.
Yeah, Rampage complains about how the UFC treats him, some of his work outside of the cage is in poor taste, to say the least. He jumped on the testosterone replacement therapy bandwagon, and he doesn't like fighting well-rounded fighters with gameplans, but he's showing his fighting spirit by accepting a fight with Teixeira.
According to Jackson, the last fight on his UFC contract is the last fight fans will see of him inside the Octagon. Fighting a guy like Teixeira as a final fight is great for the UFC, a step in the right direction for Teixeira and definitely fan friendly. For Jackson, on the other hand, there isn't much upside to the fight.
If Teixeira beats Jackson, he'll automatically bolster his name value amongst fans and get pretty close to a crack at Jon Jones' light heavyweight belt. The UFC builds a new challenger, and they can be content that Jackson leaves the UFC on a loss against an opponent with no name.
Should Jackson win, it does nothing for him besides start a win streak, and for the UFC, it's not so bad because it's not like Rampage beating one of their biggest draws in the division and leaving.
I'd imagine Jackson took this fight not because of the fighter, but because of the style of fight he thinks he'll have with Teixeira and the fact that he wants to finish his UFC contract and move on.
Does Rampage regain some credibility with the fans?
Teixeira isn't the kind of fighter who will lay on Jackson for three rounds; he'll look to finish the fight, and those are the kinds of guys with whom Jackson wants to scrap. It's probably one of the reasons why he was lobbying for the Rua rematch so much: He wants to fight guys who go out on their shields.
I think Teixeira is going to be a tough fight for Jackson, and he very well could be leaving the UFC on a three-fight losing streak, not exactly a great bargaining chip to show future bosses.
In any case, I think Jackson regains some respect by taking this fight. Not many guys wanted to fight Teixeira, but Jackson manned up and decided he'll fight the tough fight.
Leon Horne enjoys all sports and has a particular interest in MMA; give him a follow on Twitter for more information and keep an eye out for interesting interviews and news, Follow @Leon_Horne