So it looks like that I am not the only one who thinks that Rampage Jackson never lived up to his potential in the UFC. The UFC president feels the same way and thinks that Jackson could have been a huge star if things played out differently.
If I was going to create a list of UFC stars that wasted potential Rampage Jackson would probably be up towards the top of my list. Jackson came into the UFC with a bang, a big bang when he KO’d Chuck Liddell for the UFC light heavyweight title. Unfortunately Rampage’s greatest moment wound up being his first and last after coming over to the UFC.
It is interesting because White was asked why he thinks Jackson never lived up to his potential. White cites Jackson’s hiatus to do the A-Team and his desire to be an actor. White compliments him on the part but thinks that hurt his chances of becoming a big star.
I call shenanigans!
Let’s be honest about Jackson. Jackson was a fairly one dimensional fighter in Pride. He was in his prime, young, fast, and hungry. He was a slugger and even though he had the skills to go to the ground, his best work was done on his feet. Jackson came into the UFC at a real pivotal time in MMA history. In 2007 the fight game began evolving and a whole new breed of fighter took the UFC by storm. In my opinion, Jackson was about two years too late from cleaning out the light heavyweight division in the UFC.
This all came full circle in Jackson’s UFC light heavyweight championship loss to Forrest Griffin. Griffin was never what I’d call a great fighter. However, Griffin was more well rounded Jackson. Jackson had no answer for Griffin’s repeated leg kick attack throughout their fight. Griffin exposed Jackson and in my opinion, he hasn’t been the same since.
Take a look at his career after he lost the championship to Griffin. He has gone a pathetic 4-3 since the loss. His three wins came over Wanderlei Silva, Keith Jardine (two guys that have no chins), Matt Hamill (overrated), and Lyoto Machida in a fight that I’ll never understand how Machida lost. Jackson has been absolutely dominated in his three losses to Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, and Ryan Bader. Jackson has shown nothing in about five years to justify the hype he routinely gets from the UFC and the MMA community.
I also think it is fair to point out the mental breakdowns that Jackson has had over the last few years. Jackson is not a stable man. As a matter of a fact, the UFC would have been well within their right to release him on several occasions. Some will say that Jackson just doesn’t have the mental strength to become a championship UFC fighter.