UNDER-ESTIMATED & UNDER-RATED, 'RAMPAGE' ANSWERS HIS CRITICS
Okay, I'll be the first to admit it, I thought Quinton "Rampage" Jackson didn't stand a chance this last Saturday night.
Sure, going into UFC 75, I knew Jackson had a fast, powerful, and unpredictictable right hand. A punch that has taken many a fighter out.
And of course he had his famous body-slams which he has used mercilessly in the past. But against a true grappler, the two-time Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestler, Dan Henderson, I didn't think he possessed the skills needed to hold onto his Light Heavyweight Championship Belt.
I wasn't surprised by his win over the former champ, Chuck Liddell. I knew that the match would be all stand-up striking, and that if Jackson landed his crazy, overhand right he would put Liddell on the canvas. But I seriously doubted Jackson's ground fighting ability. Boy was I wrong!
Jackson answered his critics (and me) by proving that he IS a well-rounded fighter.
Not only can he slug it out better than anyone else in the UFC, he can also go to the ground and wrestle with the best of 'em.
What I like and admire most about Jackson is the way he let everyone else underestimate him. He bragged about his punching ability and allowed us all to assume that meant he couldn't grapple. He told us that he didn't like training and let us conclude that he wouldn't be in condition to fight against a world-class athlete such as Henderson.
He talked 'trash' and put on a big show in front of the cameras to let us all think he was just another loud-mouthed, one-punch-fighter. It was all a front.
Jackson wanted to be underestimated. He likes being the underdog and surprising his opponents. There's a great advantage there.
Unfortunately for him, the world now knows him as the Unified World Light Heavyweight Champion. Jackson will now have to learn to play the role of Champion Fighter, ready to defend his belt against all comers.
Is it too soon to begin calling him the 'Muhammad Ali' of mixed martial arts?
But if Jackson continues to successfully fight and win against opponents like Liddell and Henderson, the world will have to take note. We may be witnessing a legend in the making.
You heard it here first. Leave a comment and let me know if you agree or not.
Also check out Quinton Jackson's post-fight interview at http://www.ifilm.com/episode/22585
P.S. The Ultimate Fighter: Season 6 starts Sept. 19th on Spike TV!