History in the Making: Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson's greatest hits

Photo via UFC.com

The chain. The howl. The jovial smile that can turn into a menacing grimace in the blink of an eye.

For over a decade, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has entertained fight fans with theatrics that are exceeded only by his performance in the ring or cage.

Whether he's knocking opponents out with the cinder blocks he calls fists or he's slamming them through the mat, the Memphis-born fighter almost always manages to entertain his audience.

At UFC 130: "Edgar vs. Maynard 3" on May 28, 2011, he will face off against another American wrestler in Matt Hamill, as both fighters hope to continue their climb up the 205-pound rankings.

But first, a look back.

Hello, Pride... meet "Rampage"

Jackson had a rough debut in Pride FC. He was matched up against the smaller Kazushi Sakuraba and used that size difference to his advantage. But the seasoned grappler was able to score a submission on the American.

When "Rampage" returned to Japan four months later, the result was decidedly different.

He took on professional wrestler Yuki Ishikawa and ragdolled him all around the ring. Punches to the head while on their feet and knees while on the mat were delivered to the Japanese fighter.

A combination against the ropes dropped Ishikawa to the mat and earned "Rampage" his first Pride victory.

But it wouldn't be his last.

The first "black on black crime"

The Memphis-born fighter was making his way up the 205-pound ladder and had his eyes set on the champ, Wanderlei Silva. Kevin Randleman was a former heavyweight champ in the UFC and dropped down to 205-pounds when he made the jump to Pride.

Their bout, an unofficial qualifier for the 2003 grand prix, took place at Pride 25: "Body Blow" and Jackson's persona as the ass-kicking funnyman was in full effect. In fact, it was the first time "Rampage" used the phrase "black on black crime," a meme that became famous in the lead-up to his tilt with Rashad Evans.

The two fighters' wrestling abilities cancelled each other out so the two were forced to slug it out. "Rampage" got the best of "The Monster" after a Chute Boxe-esque knee cracked Randleman on the chin. Staggered, a Jackson uppercut also found its mark and dropped the former UFC champ.

"Rampage" hopped into full mount and unleashed coma-inducing ground and pound that slayed "The Monster."

After the fight, Jackson made motions to Silva who was sitting ringside. Middleweight strap thrown over his shoulder, "The Axe Murderer" made his way into the ring for a face-to-face confrontation.

Jackson told Silva that the belt belonged to him. Silva responded, "This is my belt," and slapped his chest.

Then he shoved "Rampage" and all hell broke loose.

But we'll get to that rivalry soon enough.

"Rampage" puts Liddell on ice

The first time Jackson and Liddell tangled, it was in a Pride ring in Japan. Liddell, representing the UFC, was expected to defeat "Rampage" in the 205-pound tournament and move on to face Silva. Jackson had other plans and forced "Iceman's" corner to throw in the towel in the second round.

Their rematch had a significantly different background. Liddell was ruling the Octagon with an iron fist, winning seven fights in a row since the Jackson loss. "Rampage" was now in "Iceman's" home.

Think he cared?

Think again.

One of the biggest hyped fights in the promotion's history ended somewhat anti-climatically when "Rampage" clipped the champ on the jaw with a perfectly placed hook. The shockwave of the strike sent "The Iceman" crashing to the mat. A few punches followed but they were just icing on the cake.

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"Rampage" was the new UFC light heavyweight champion. In his next fight, he would finally capture the Pride 205-pound title that eluded him for so long and became the unified undisputed light heavyweight champion.

The slam heard 'round the world

Jackson had been brutalized by Silva when they met in the finals of the middleweight grand prix. A showcase bout with Ikuhisa Minowa followed but "Rampage" needed a 205-pound win -- and a good one  -- to earn another crack at "The Axe Murderer."

His opponent was Ricard Arona, another fighter desperate to get his chance to fight for the title.

The Brazilian used his grappling to gain advantage throughout the bout and never allowed "Rampage" to unload on his feet. 

While Jackson was in Arona's guard, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) expert landed an upkick that may have knocked out the American. It's tough to tell from the video but one thing is for certain: the kick landed and it landed hard.

Recovered from the blow, Jackson continued to play a dangerous game by staying in Arona's guard. The Brazilian Top Team member threw his legs up for a triangle but "Rampage" had other plans.

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You can partially blame Arona for being too stubborn to release the submission but lifting a man that size that high into the air is impressive, no matter what.

Arona would claim it was a headbutt on the way down that knocked him out -- and a busted open Jackson post-powerbomb would help verify this theory -- but getting your head bounced off the mat like that doesn't bode well for your chances to stay conscious.

Revenge is a dish best served cold

The rivalry between Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva is that of legend. It even has its own Wikipedia entry!

Beyond their confrontation at Pride 25 and their bout in the finals of the 2003 grand prix, they met once more in Japan at Pride 28: "High Octane."

In what seemed like an impossibility, the fight ended more brutally for Jackson than their first had.

Silva caught "Rampage" with a hook that staggered the American and immediately wrapped his head in a Thai clinch. "The Axe Murderer" lived up to his moniker when he devastated Jackson with several knees and left him to fall, unconscious and bleeding, through the ropes.

Two years later, now both employed by the UFC, a third match was book at the big year-end show. Silva was coming off a brutal knockout over Keith Jardine while "Rampage" had just lost his title to Forrest Griffin.

The difference in this bout was Juanito Ibarra, the boxing coach Jackson had hooked up with. He helped refine the American's stand-up abilities, focusing the raw power he had into a deadly boxing machine.

"The Axe Murderer" was stuck in his Pride days where wild exchanges filled with wide haymakers kept him on top of the 205-pound mountain for so long.

The UFC was a different beast altogether.

"Rampage" used his newfound skills to cover up against an onslaught that might have previously bested him and deliver a brutal counter left hook that put Silva to sleep.

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A couple of extra strikes might have been in poor taste but when presented with the opportunity to punch the man who knocked you out -- not once, but TWICE -- in the face, I don't think any of us would practice much restraint either.

There you have it. A career full of highlight reel brain-jarring knockouts. Will we be treated to yet another classic "Rampage" performance at UFC 130? We'll have to wait and see.

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