LAS VEGAS - MAY 28: UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (L) speaks to Joe Rogan (R) and the crowd about his fight against UFC fighter Rashad Evans at UFC 114: Rampage versus Rashad at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on May 28, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
It's no secret that Quinton Jackson hates to train for his upcoming fights. He's admitted that fact, repeatedly, at just about every opportunity.
But just because being a gym rat is not on his list of favorite things to do, doesn't mean that "Rampage" doesn't take his job serious. Especially, when a world title is on the line. And even more especially when that world title is the one he is responsible for unifying back in 2007.
In May of that year, Jackson scored a stunning knockout of light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who at the time was widely regarded as the most dangerous, and unbeatable, force in the UFCs 205-pound division. Then in his next fight, which was also his first title defense, he welcomed Pride FC Middleweight Champion Dan Henderson back to the Octagon.
Jackson would go on to win the "Champion vs. Champion" battle via unanimous decision and, in doing so, go down in history as the man who unified two titles from the two most prestigious promotions in the sport at the time.
It's an accomplishment that was initially lost on Jackson, but now that he's gearing up to challenge light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 135, "Rampage" tells Yahoo!Sports that he wants that "belt back so bad:"
"That belt is the unified PRIDE and UFC world title, and that belt exists because of me beating Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson in two straight fights to win the UFC and then PRIDE titles. Nothing felt better than becoming the first unified champ in MMA history. I plan on getting my belt back at UFC 135. I think now I didn’t appreciate even myself what I had accomplished, and by the time I did, I’d lost it. That’s why I want my belt back so bad. It’s my belt. So it does kinda bug me that people think I’m not taking this fight in Denver next against Jones seriously. It’s dead serious, heart attack serious to me. I want that belt back."
Jackson, a 17-fight Pride FC veteran, made his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut in 1999. Jones was about 12 years old at that moment in time. Now the pair is set to meet in the UFC 135 main event, which is scheduled to go down at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo., on Sept. 24, 2011.
"Bones," who has just one loss in 14 career fights, has never truly tasted defeat. He was disqualified for using illegal elbows in a fight against Matt Hamill that was a total mauling prior to its stoppage. Jones has won four straight since, including a technical knockout stoppage of Mauricio Rua, a man who handed Jackson a brutal beatdown back in 2005.
Nonetheless, Jackson contends that "Jones has never been hit in his career." And that he has been training in the "Mile High City" for seven weeks to hit him in his "big 'Bones' head."
Practice makes perfect.