In 2011, Quinton Jackson said he would retire by age 35. Injuries, training and young talent would push him out, he said.
In June, Jackson (37-13 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) turned 40. He’s one week away from his 51st professional MMA fight in the co-headliner of Bellator 206.
Obviously, things haven’t gone according to plan for “Rampage.” He’s still trudging along, which is why he can’t fault veterans Chuck Liddell (21-8) and Tito Ortiz (19-12-1) for coming back to the cage one more time.
Ortiz and Liddell’s ersatz rubber match, set for Nov. 24 on pay-per-view under Golden Boy Promotions, has drawn a healthy dose of criticism from MMA fans and pundits. It’s also drawn additional drug testing scrutiny. But you won’t hear Jackson bash the fight.
“A lot of fans criticize fighters as we get older, and I say this is what we know, and this is the sport we love,” Jackson told reporters during a conference call for his fourth fight against Wanderlei Silva on Sept. 29. “We get older, and we still want to participate in it. I personally don’t see anything wrong with older fighters getting out there and fighting.”
If anything, Jackson sees the matchup as the best possible option for two aging fighters looking for glory – and hopefully a big paycheck.
“It’s better to fight another older fighter instead of a younger guy, because that can be dangerous,” Jackson said. “But I’ve got nothing against Tito or Chuck. I’m cool with both of them; I respect both of them. I trained with Tito over the years. I fought Chuck twice, and I know Tito wants to beat Chuck, and I think that’s the reason for them fighting a third time.
“I just hope it’s a good fight. I hope both of them are safe, because both of those guys are older than me, and at their age, I know I’d probably be doing other things like fishing. But those guys, they love the sport, and more power to them.”
Jackson’s fight next Saturday could signal a curtain call for Silva, who’s aiming to enter politics in his native Brazil. Jackson’s future plans are unknown.
- Bellator boss Scott Coker will deal with dual-champions situation 'case-by-case' if it happens
- Bellator 205 pre-event facts: A.J. McKee looks to extend record winning streak to dozen
- Melvin Manhoef vs. Chidi Njokuani headlines Bellator 210 on Nov. 30
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: 'Rampage' Jackson supports Liddell vs. Oritz 3: 'This is what we know'