Former UFC champion Rampage Jackson eyes 2023 MMA return, looking to ‘destroy’ old TUF rival

Former UFC champion Rampage Jackson eyes a return with the new promotion UFL

By: Lucas Rezende | 3 months ago

MMA light heavyweight legend Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson can hold a grudge. Though the former UFC champion has not competed in the Octagon since 2015 and in mixed martial arts altogether since 2019, the 45-year-old is eyeing a comeback in 2023 and already knows who he would like to face next.

Rampage Jackson has unfinished business with an old TUF rival

A coach on The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, which aired in 2009, Rampage Jackson was the protagonist of one of the the show’s most famous rivalry when he went up against fellow former UFC champion Rashad Evans’ team over the course of that season.

The infamous clip in which Jackson destroys a door on the show comes from that season. However, the man he wishes to face in his MMA return is not Rashad Evans but an athlete who was on Evans’ team: Darrill Schoonover.

While his rivalry with Evans was a heated one, Jackson and Schoonover had a history of mutual taunting and heated verbal altercations during the show, which has led to both men wanting to face each other afterwards. Though the match never came to fruition, Rampage tells MMA Fighting he is still not over it and would gladly take on Schoonover in his MMA return. Or anyone else he is not very fond of, really.

“I don’t let stuff like that die,” Jackson said of Schoonover. “He tried to punk me. But [fellow TUF castmate] Brendan Schaub said that he doesn’t think Darrill would be down to fight.”

“My next fight, I don’t want to fight anybody that I like at all,” he added, “because I have to destroy them, whoever it is.”

Rampage Jackson is headed back to the heavyweight division

Should he make his return, Rampage Jackson is certain he would have it in the heavyweight division. Though he was on the receiving end of some virtual abuse regarding his weight on the internet, the 45-year-old says the words helped him become more motivated to shed some of the extra weight he had been carrying.

“Come on, man, you saw my last fight. Man, I needed a drastic change,” Jackson said of his weight. “I was just getting tired of being fat. And I want to say something to everybody that’s out there listening: Bring back fat-shaming. America, we’ve gotten so soft. Like, a lot of MMA fans were commenting on my posts and talking s***. I guess they thought I was going to get butt-hurt or something, but no, they gave me a drive to get off of my ass and do something about it.

“I don’t consider it bullying, what people were saying to me online. It was motivation for me, and I did something about it.”

Jackson advocates for new promotion UFL

Jackson would like to have his return under the UFL (United Fight League) banner, a new promotion helmed by Harrison Rogers, which Jackson, alongside other former UFC champions such as Frank Mir and Tito Ortiz have been working as ambassadors.

According to a press release, the company differs from its competitors by offering fighters fighters medical insurance, life insurance, and “a stake in the company through various stock options as part of their compensation package”.

“He really wants to take care of the fighters, and that’s why I decided to join forces with this guy,” Jackson said of Rogers. “He’s one of the best. I really look up to him and he’s teaching me a lot about business, and I’m just really honored to know a person like this who’s really looking out for the fighters.”

In his last outing, Rampage Jackson (38-14) got TKO’d by Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 237, in December 2019. The 45-year-old’s latest win came just one fight before, when he knocked out longtime rival Wanderlei Silva at Bellator 206 in September 2018.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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