On the Rampage: Jackson ready to put on show against Ryan Bader at UFC 144
Editor’s note: This is the second of three exclusive Yahoo! Sports blogs from Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as he trains for his UFC 144 fight against Ryan Bader in Japan.
TOKYO—I’m here in Japan! I’m a happy Rampage right now. I’m so ready to kick Ryan Bader’s ass in front of my Japanese fans. I’m going to fight like I did in Pride, let it all hang out and go to war. Having a war is more important to me than winning, honestly. I just want to slam and punch this guy Saturday at UFC 144.
I love my fans everywhere. I love the American fans – even the dumb ones who booed me when I beat Chuck Liddell – and fans I am lucky enough to have all over the world, but I have a special bond with my Japanese fans. This is where it all started for me in this sport, and now I’m back and ready to start again.
I guess everyone misses stuff in their lives they don’t do or see anymore. But I miss the Pride days a lot. I miss the style of fighting where you just go for it and throw down. I miss the energy, the crazy screaming and, most of all, the Japanese fans. They have such respect for fighting and fighters there, and they understand we are people, too. They also realize it takes a lot of hard work and preparation to do this.
I’m a private person, and I guess I miss fighting in Pride because I was “famous” in Japan and when I’d come home, I’d be just another dude. I had the best of both worlds, for real. I was famous and just a guy at the same time, but that couldn’t last if I wanted to be successful in my fighting career. Life changes, we got to move on, but on Saturday I get to go back and for one night I’m fighting in Japan again and I am so excited.
It is hard for me to explain how much this means, but it means everything right now.
The Japanese fans are different. They go nuts for the entrances, then go all quiet for the fight – like they are reading a book or something – and suddenly go nuts again if you land a big punch or slam. At the end of the fight, they go nuts again! But during some of the rounds, you can hear your corner instructions and they don’t even have to shout.
Japanese fans are also different outside the arena. They will ask “Mr. Jackson, may I take a photo? May I put my fist up for the photo?” Afterward, they will bow and thank you. They are so polite and they bring gifts like they know us.
[ More from Rampage: Still motivated despite loss to Jones ]
People sometimes don’t understand what I mean when I say I don’t like game plans and strategy. I respect everyone who fights in the UFC, or in any organization. But I miss the thrill of the fight where you don’t know nothin’ about your opponent, he knows nothin’ about you and you both go out there and make stuff happen. I miss that thrill. It is fighting the unknown as well as the opponent, and to me, that’s what fighting is all about.
I don’t expect Ryan Bader to fight like that. Even though he says he will fight me, I know when I hit him he will go back to his safety net, which is his wrestling. But I am ready to tear through all that.
I have trained like a wild man for this fight. I’ve run like a wild man for this fight. I want to put on a war for the fans at UFC 144. I want this to be a great fight so badly, I can’t believe it.
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