clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rampage Jackson: Japanese fans are my favorite -- and American fans are jealous when I say that

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson had to "bitch" to his manager and "upset a few UFC representatives," but "Rampage" is finally heading back to the "Land of the Rising Sun."

Jackson will now face Ryan Bader in a 205-pound affair on the main card of UFC 144: "Edgar vs. Henderson" on Feb. 26, 2012, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

PRIDE fans were first introduced to the Memphis native in memorable match-ups against International superstars like Kazushi Sakuraba, Mauricio Rua and Wanderlei Silva.

And there was that much-talked about win over UFC poster boy Chuck Liddell back in 2003.

Since leaving Japan, Jackson has failed to "evolve in a good way," according to statements made in today's UFC 144 pre-fight press conference (via Daniel Herbertson).

In addition, he's been longing to perform in front of his "favorite fans" who unlike stateside fans, support him whether he wins or loses:

"Back when I was fighting here, I had so much energy. I just wanted to put on a good show for the fans because all the energy they give. In America, you're under so much pressure to win at all costs because the fans talk shit to you if you lose even if it's a good, exciting fight. In Japan, it's just a different energy. Who knows? Maybe I'll take more chances and not care because it's all about the crowd. I react to the crowd. I don't care about the people watching on TV ... In Japan, I used to slam a lot and put on more of a show because the energy from the fans gave me power and I don't feel the same energy in the US. So, I can't honestly say I improved or evolved in a good way since leaving Japan. I'm all about putting on an exciting fight in Japan. One thing I love about Japanese fans and why I love them the most is that they don't care if you win or lose. All they care is if you have samurai spirit, that you put on a good fight. That's why Japanese fans are my favorite. And American fans are jealous that I say that all the time."

Jackson (32-9) is fresh off a fourth-round submission loss to Jon Jones in their UFC 135 main event title fight. It was the first defeat for "Rampage" since he dropped a close unanimous decision to Rashad Evans at UFC 114 in May 2010.

Bader, meanwhile, competed at UFC 139 back on Nov. 19, scoring a first round knockout victory over Jason Brilz. The fact that he barely broke a sweat made it possible for him to have such a quick turnaround to fight in February.

That win was "Darth's" first in three fights. But if he can get past Jackson, he'll be right back at the top of the contender line. And if Jackson loses?

Well, at least he'll have the support of his "favorite" fans.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania