Does Quinton Jackson Have Any ‘Rampage’ Left?
There are few personalities in the world of mixed martial arts that truly resonate with people like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is now the biggest name in the second biggest promotion in the world, Bellator MMA. Jackson has pretty much done anything and everything there is to do as a fighter. At 35 years of age, he is past his prime, but for Bellator, still has a tremendous amount of name value. When it comes to Jackson’s future, the real question is what is the value of Jackson the fighter?
His first fight in Bellator, against Joey Beltran proved to be one of Jackson’s best in recent memory, dropping Beltran in the first round. The problem is it was against Joey Beltran. With all due respect to the MMA veteran, he’s not exactly on the bright side of a mediocre career. Jackson’s proposed fight against Tito Ortiz had a kind of horror movie appeal to it; you knew it was going to end badly. The fight never happened, and Jackson has moved on, while Ortiz is in a sort MMA limbo.
Friday night, Jackson takes on Christian M’Pumbu, the first ever Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion, in the opening round of the light heavyweight tournament. M’Pumbu’s biggest win was probably over UFC heavyweight contender Stefan Struve. He provides an interesting challenge for Jackson, though again, a win by “Rampage” would come as no surprise to anyone. It’s obvious in the way the tournament is laid out that the ideal final would be Jackson taking on King Mo. However, both fighters need to win tomorrow, and anything can happen when it comes to the fight gain.
For Quinton Jackson to truly help Bellator take the next step as promotion, I believe he needs to win the entire tournament and eventually become the new champion. Whether you like him or not, Jackson is still a big name in the fight game. One can argue that it was his win over Chuck Liddell to capture the UFC Light Heavyweight Title that first catapulted the UFC into the mainstream spotlight. Rampage is a star, and for the betterment of Bellator, he needs to fight like one.