Photo of Quinton Jackson (L) and Dana White via MMA Weekly.
Did Quinton Jackson come up short?
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight titleholder, who's riding the pine to heal a pair of bum knees, has just one fight remaining on his Zuffa contract before leaving the Octagon for good.
But how will UFC fans remember him?
"Rampage" debuted with a knockout win over Marvin Eastman at UFC 67 back in early 2007. His win over "The Beastman" earned him an immediate 205-pound title shot -- and PRIDE FC rematch -- against UFC poster boy Chuck Liddell.
He won the light heavyweight title in dominating fashion and even defended it against fellow PRIDE import Dan Henderson at UFC 75 for his third win of the year.
Then Forrest Griffin went and crashed the party at UFC 86 in July 2008, stripping Jackson of the title after five rounds of back-and-forth action.
He would never get it back.
The loss to the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Champion kicked off a dismal 4-4 run over the next four years, culminating in consecutive losses to Jon Jones and Ryan Bader, preceded by lackluster performances over Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill.
UFC President Dana White (via MMA Fighting) reflects on what could have been, after the jump.
"I think he could have been so much better if he applied himself. He had all the tools. Incredible chin, knockout power in both hands, incredible charisma and personality. Tell me Rampage Jackson wasn’t born to fight. Not only in his power, but his attributes, his wrestling, his chin, the list goes on and on ... His potential could have been so much more. This is a crazy business, you always have these guys who think they’re getting screwed and this and that and everything else that’s happening. ‘Rampage’ wants to fight one more fight on his contract, and his last fight, and he’ll never make that money ever again for the rest of his life. A lot of those guys in the UFC don’t realize that until it's too late."
There's more to Jackson's fractured relationship with the UFC than just wins and losses.
After his most recent unanimous decision loss to "Darth" Bader at UFC 144 in Japan, Rampage launched a very public (and very ugly) verbal spat with his employers at Zuffa, even accusing the UFC of trying to sabotage his career, and claiming UFC matchmaker Joe Silva should be "shot in the face" for the poor job he's done setting up Jackson with opponents.
In spite of all that, White believes a focused, committed and hardworking Rampage could have been one of the best of all time. Who amongst you disagrees with that assessment?