I am not as outraged as some at Rampage Jackson’s lackluster performance at UFC 144. The truth is that I never expected anything different. Whether it is age, a lack of passion, or injuries, the “old” Rampage Jackson retired from MMA a long time ago.
If there is one thing I hate about sports it is false hype. Don’t call a guy that hasn’t won a postseason game in two years “Matty Ice” and don’t tell me that someone is a dangerous knockout artist that hasn’t knocked anyone out in almost four years. If you are waiting around to see the “old” Rampage from PRIDE FC, you are going to be waiting forever.
This isn’t a case of kicking a guy when he’s down after an embarrassing performance on Saturday night. As a matter of a fact, I wrote a blog praising Jackson on Saturday afternoon for not pulling out of the fight. However, after listening to a professional fighter tell the media that he “expected to lose” I am utterly convinced that there is just no fire left in this man’s belly.
If there is one thing Jackson continues to do almost as good as anyone in the UFC, it is sell a fight. That man is a champion of Countdown of shows. The UFC, especially lapdog Joe Rogan are all on board with telling fans about how dangerous Jackson’s hands are and how Jackson will unleash this old fury on his new opponent. I get it, I understand it, but it is time to retire these false promises.
It isn’t my business to tell a guy when to retire from his profession. But let’s be honest, Jackson hasn’t fought like an elite fighter since beating Dan Henderson back all the way in September of 2007. Yes I know he has had his moments, such as knocking out Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 or dominating Keith Jardine at UFC 96, but these are guys he should have dominated. Jackson has fought boring, one-dimensional, uninspired fights since he took time off to film the A-Team. Coincidence or not, the truth is that Jackson has not lived up to his billing in quite some time.
I think it really goes back to the night he lost the UFC light heavyweight championship to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. Griffin laid out a perfect blueprint on how to beat Jackson. Keep him at bay with leg kicks, tire him out, and the threat of a knockout is gone after his initial burst. Jackson has done absolutely nothing to evolve his game in the last several years. He has relied on purely on getting a lucky punch and if he can’t get that punch, he’s got nothing. On top of that, his movements are slow, methodical, and easy to pick apart for a well-rounded fighter. MMA has evolved and quite frankly Jackson has not.
Injury or not, I don’t think the fight would have been much different Saturday night for the current Rampage Jackson.
UFC Store: Free Shipping on orders over $50 – No Code Needed