On Feb. 25, 2012, Quinton Jackson lost a three round decision to fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Ryan Bader at UFC 144 in Saitama, Japan. "Rampage" had his moments, but overall, he looked a step slower and a mere shadow of the fighter that the Japanese fans were used to seeing during the PRIDE era.
But it isn't just that he lost. The best fighters in the world lose decisions and live to see another day. Often times, it makes them all the better for it. As much as "Rampage" doesn't want to hear people in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community question his motivation, it's hard not to these days.
He missed weight by six pounds, a misstep that didn't even really seem to bother him. But let's be real -- it affected him and his performance.
Now the big question: Should Jackson's appearance at UFC 144 be his last inside the Octagon?
Jackson has now lost two fights in a row, the performance against Bader being fairly unimpressive. His loss to Jon Jones at UFC 135 on Sept. 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado, was an even more one-sided affair.
Sure, he stayed around with "Bones" for over three rounds, but he never threatened. There was never any point in that fight where it looked like Jones' victory was in question.
But that's just two consecutive losses, right? No big deal. The UFC typically gives fighters a leash of no less than three losses in a row before they cut the cord and say goodbye.
I have two problems with that line of thinking.
First off, it's really more than the two losses. It has more to do with the nature of his past five performances. Before losing his last two contests, he won two decisions over Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill, neither of them awe-inspiring.
"Rampage" got the job done, but barely.
Before that, he lost a decision to Rashad Evans that saw Jackson get dominated for three rounds by "Suga" at UFC 114 on May 29, 2010 in "Sin City."
The truth of the matter is that "Rampage" hasn't earned a big victory in the UFC since he knocked out Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 all the way back on Dec. 27, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During that run, he's had multiple problems outside the cage, had his motivation questioned by pundits and fellow fighters alike, and just flat-out hasn't looked himself.
Here's my second problem with the "only two losses" argument: Is that really how you want to see a guy like "Rampage" go out? Losing three in a row before getting his pink slip?
It taints his legacy and mars his legend. I don't know if he's better than that these days, but he was.
My preference would be to see "Rampage" go out on his own terms. Quit before they can fire you or at least before you become Chuck Liddell.
Could Jackson have a "come to Jesus" moment in his life where he totally gets his life and fight game back in order and return to championship form? Maybe, but I've seen nothing out of him in four years that shows me this is a possibility.
It's been a good run. He's given us a ton of highlights and soundbytes. But it's time to move on now. Go make that "A-team" sequel. Maybe even shoot a "B.A. Barracus" spin-off project.
Just walk away while it's still your decision.
What say you, Maniacs? Am I way off, or do you agree that it's time for "Rampage" to walk off into the sunset?