Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has always had an up-and-down relationship with the UFC. He’s been in trouble and out of trouble. He’s been a champion; he’s been a contender trying to scrap his way back to the belt.
One thing he’s hardly ever been, it seems, is happy.
Following Saturday night’s loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago, however, Rampage, while disappointed, appears to be at peace with his lot in life, which he insists no longer includes the UFC. And perhaps that will bring him the happiness he’s missing.
Though he threw everything he had at Teixeira and went out guns-a-blazing, Rampage got beat to the punch, beat to the takedown, and beat to the dominant positions on the mat.
What went wrong?
“Glover did a great job,” Rampage recounted in an interview on the UFC on Fuel TV post-fight show. “He went for submissions. He ground and pounded. That's MMA at it's finest.
“Glover was just the better man tonight.”
Losing to the better man when he steps into the Octagon with one of the Top 10 fighters in the world may just be where Rampage sits at this point in his career. He has now lost consecutive bouts to Teixeira, Ryan Bader, and Jon Jones.
Perhaps his days of vying for the title are beyond him now.
While all elite level athletes find that a bitter pill to swallow – most would even go into denial about it – Rampage seems prepared to embrace it and make the most of his life outside of the white-hot UFC spotlight.
“It's hard to swallow when you get your ass kicked, but it's part of the job,” he said with raw candor after Teixeira took the fight to him for three straight rounds.
“I been fighting for 13 years and the game has changed a lot. Maybe I'll just be one of those fighters that come and incite the crowd and be like Gary Goodridge, one of the guys that just come on and put on a great show.
“I'll be one of those middle range fighters. If I'm a free agent, if a show wants to pick me up, want to put on exciting fights for their fans, I'm their guy.”
At 34 years of age, Rampage is still young for a fighter that has been competing professionally for 13 years with more than 40 MMA bouts to his credit. But then again, his all-out style does little stave off the wear and tear of so much combat, even of the sporting variety.
In his cloud of disappointment, he sounded much older than the years he is credited with. Most fighters that decide to leave a lengthy UFC tenure in the rear view mirror are doing so with fighting becoming their past, hanging up their gloves for the final time.
Rampage insists that isn’t so with him. He is resolute that he can be content as the entertainer instead of the champion.
“I don't know if I can compete with the top people in the world (anymore). This is my first time losing three in a row. I'm not gonna give up though,” he said.
“It's not my last MMA fight. I might try some boxing. But no, I still want to fight; it's still in my heart.
“I've just got a lot of reevaluating to do.”