Fresh start: Newly signed Bellator fighter Rampage Jackson interview exclusive with MMAmania.com

Jon Kopaloff

MMAmania.com delves into the mind of Quinton Jackson. Check out what the newly signed Bellator star has to say on a wide variety of topics below.

Earlier this month, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson finally got his wish.

He was granted his release from Ultimate Fighting Championship and immediately signed a landmark deal with Bellator MMA, TNA Wrestling and Viacom.

The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion's relationship with UFC and Dana White had grown sour near the end, but he seemed reinvigorated with his new home.

The Memphis native made an quick impact in the ring, making his TNA debut and was confronted by top veteran Kurt Angle during his introduction.

Now, word has come out that Jackson will be getting his own reality show on Spike TV as well as a movie deal with Viacom partner Paramount studios alongside his competition contracts with both Bellator and TNA.

Busy guy.

Jackson spoke to MMAmania.com earlier today about his first impressions of his new home, getting starstruck for the first time in 20 years and why he no longer has the desire to be a champion in this exclusive interview.

Check it out:

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've spoken very highly of Bjorn Rebney lately, saying he "gets it." What is it about Rebney and the way he runs his company that you respect so much?

Quinton Jackson: Well one thing is he respects the fighter. From my experience, I don't know how he treats other fighters, I just know how he treats me and my team, but this is just from my own experience so you know this, he respects me. We sat down and talked things out. small things like that which make you want to perform that much more for a promoter. When we sat down and talked, we were bouncing ideas off each other as equals. It wasn't just, "Oh, you're gonna fight this guy and then you'll fight this guy if you win." I liked that with him and I really respect that and how he treats the profession.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Fighters have had issues in the past with how UFC treats likeness rights and things like that. Do you have a different deal with Bellator and Viacom where you have more control?

Quinton Jackson: Yeah, I don't know what everyone else has got but I have my own thing set up with my manger and we're really happy with what we've got going.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've brought up wanting to use more of an "MMA style" when you're working with TNA pro wrestling. Can you elaborate on the MMA style you want to bring to the ring?

Quinton Jackson: Well I've always wanted to be a pro wrestler since I was a kid, but now that I'm older and have had a lot of injuries, people don't understand the toll that wrestling takes on your body. I just don't think I can do that now while I'm fighting, but when I retire from fighting and go full time into pro wrestling, then I think I can go and get more extensive with my style and my moves. Right now, I just want to stick to what I know. I haven't trained for wrestling but I know MMA and MMA is exciting. That's why it has such a big following that it does now and I want to bring my style into my performance. Guys like Samoa Joe have an MMA style in their pro wrestling and stuff like that. I want to be different than him. I still like to slam and throw people and that's why I did that so many years in my MMA career because I was a pro wrestler at heart. I wanted to bring some pro wrestling into my MMA back in Pride and now I want to bring some MMA into my pro wrestling.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): One of the reasons I ask is because TNA did an experiment in the past with Frank Trigg. I'm not sure if you're familiar with that but he had an MMA-style match against A.J. Styles and the fans weren't feeling it at all. Did you know about that and if so, do you have plans to make that better?

Quinton Jackson: I don't know nothing about Frank Trigg or what he did. I don't have no comment on that. I have no idea what he did. If the fans weren't liking it, the fans weren't liking it. TNA does that stuff and they'll tell me, they'll know before I go out there what I'm doing before I step into the ring.

I think what will help me is I have no ego. I'll do what they tell me. It won't be my way or the highway. I'll work with them. I want the best just like they do.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You tweeted about how starstruck you were when you had a chance to meet Hulk Hogan backstage. What was it like finally getting to meet some of these guys in person that you've been looking up to your whole life?

Quinton Jackson: It was great, man. Now I know how fans feel when they get to meet their favorite fighter because that's how I felt. I didn't realize notice it before. I didn't know this about myself but I wasn't really a big fan of anything but pro wrestling. I didn't realize that until I met Hulk Hogan. I've met actors and famous people before and they're cool and all, but I was literally starstruck when I met Hulk Hogan. The last time I was that starstruck was when I was 17 and I met one of the biggest pro wrestlers in Memphis from back in the day. It was a cool experience.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've got a reality show coming up and you've brought up that when you were giving access to camera crews before like with UFC Countdown, you were only showing what you wanted to show, not wanting to give away parts of the gameplan or preparation in your training. Why do you want change that now and give away more, perhaps allowing future opponents to do some extra research on you?

Quinton Jackson: Well, when you think about it, for a long time it hasn't been no secret what I was gonna try to do. I was gonna come out there and try to knock your head off. I got addicted to knocking dudes out, just punching people for a long time. No more. For my next fight, people are going to be surprised at what I'm doing. That being said, while we'll be showing plenty of my training and everything, that's not what the show will entirely be about.

It'll be about my life, being a single parent with my kids, the stuff I do, my hobbies. It'll also have me training, learning pro wrestling. Honestly, I've always felt like my life was a reality show already just without the cameras being around. You have no idea. Some MMA fans are really weird. Some are really cool, but you'd be shocked at some of the things that would go on. At times it'd get annoying but it's also funny. My show is going to be about a bunch of things. I'm a car guy, stuff like that. I don't plan on giving away my whole gameplan, but I want to show stuff and give access, not just like a Countdown show.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Speaking of the crazy fan interactions, did you meeting Hulk Hogan and getting startstruck, did that help you sympathize with how some of your biggest fans act when they meet you?

Quinton Jackson: Oh yeah. It taught me. When I met Hulk Hogan I was startstruck but what I did was I kept my damn mouth shut. I babbled a little bit but I kept my mouth shut. I shook his hands and I kept it to myself. Some fans want to pat you on the back, hug you, do weird things. For a guy like me, it's hard to explain. You'd have to wear my shoes a bit to understand. I've got nothing against anybody but sometimes, you may not know this but I'm a germ freak. I don't want to eat and have all these people shaking my hand, talking over my food. I don't even want a waiter hovering over my food. If you sit down at a restaurant and order something, you don't want to get interrupted. I might not always want to be approached or have fans get mad at me for not taking a picture because I'm in a rush because I'm always late for everything. I'm a human being in a human situation just like them and I thought of that when I met Hulk Hogan and I kept it to myself. I shook his hands, said "it's an honor to meet you" and I wish a lot of fans could do the same thing. I do sympathize with them, though.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Is there a particularly crazy fan experience from back in the day that you almost wish you'd had the cameras rolling to film for your show?

Quinton Jackson: There's a lot of things. One time, I had a fan, I don't know why he wanted this but he stuck his toe out and asked me to step on his foot. I don't know what he got out of it, but it was weird man.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned on Twitter that you were pretty impressed with that Fight Master show on Spike TV. You coached twice on The Ultimate Fighter, so would you be interested in coaching on Fight Master if the show goes on to have multiple seasons?

Quinton Jackson: Well honestly, let's keep it real, I'm not a good coach. I'm not a good coach. I'm still learning and trying to improve myself. I wouldn't have any interest in being on the show but I respect Bjorn Rebney so much that if he asked me to do it, I would do it. I'd do it for him. But there's no way I'd ever do it if they asked me to coach again on The Ultimate Fighter. I didn't even want to do the second one. If Bjorn asked me though, I'd coach Fight Master and I'd bring on the best coaches I could to help the kids. I'm not a coach though, those guys would help me out.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've really talked a lot lately about your desire to put on a show for the fans, to entertain, to give them something to go home happy about. With that being said, are you focused more now on being an entertainer than ever being a champion again? Do you still have that same desire?

Quinton Jackson: I don't have the desire to be a champion. That's not something I want. My mentality is different now. I've been in the game long enough that I know what the fans want. I expect to go out there and put on a show every time I step into the cage. Don't take that as meaning I won't be trying to win because I'm still going to train hard and everything but to be a champion? Not so much.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You brought up earlier about really wanting to round out your game. Is there anything specific you want to focus on before you make your Bellator debut?

Quinton Jackson: Everything. I need to work on everything, man. I need to work on my Muay Thai. I need to work on my wrestling. I need to work on my ground game and even my boxing. That's what I've been doing.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Roy Nelson's contract just expired in the UFC so he's like a restricted free agent at the moment. You've brought wanting to fight at heavyweight now so would you be interested in a fight against Big Country if he signs with Bellator?

Quinton Jackson: I would love to fight Roy Nelson. Fuck him up.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've mentioned that this new deal with Bellator has made you feel young again. Would you still be open to using TRT to help heal nagging injuries or are you past that now?

Quinton Jackson: I'm not past it. It just so worked out that I needed it at the time. If the situation comes along down the road and I need it to compete and the doctor says I should, then yeah. I never saw anything wrong with it. I don't get why people had problems with it in the first place if your testosterone is low and you need it.

You can follow Quinton on Twitter @Rampage4Real.

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