The 411 MMA Top 10 02.25.13: Top 10 Quinton Jackson Fights
What’s up everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week the career of Quinton Jackson gets highlighted. Rampage recently had the last fight on his UFC contract. Who knows what he’s going to do next. He says that he wants to try boxing and other MMA promotions, but he might just come back to the UFC after an extended break. Anyway here are his top ten fights. What was difficult about making this week’s column is that he’s been on the losing side of some of the best fights he’s been in. So I’ve decided to rank these mostly on fight quality, then the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and a little bit of my personal opinion.
I apologize if some of the fight breakdowns weren’t as detailed as I usually do, but I was stuck in a hotel that lied to me about having internet and I didn’t bring any DVD’s along with me. So I didn’t get to rewatch any fights as I usually do before writing.
• VS Kevin Randleman Pride 25- the former UFC heavyweight champion was on one of the best runs of his career before he fought Rampage. Jackson would KO Randleman ending his five fight winning streak and picked up one of the first big wins of his career.
• VS Marvin Eastman UFC 67- an impressive UFC debut as he knocked Eastman and avenged an early loss in his career.
• VS Matt Lindland WFA: King of the Streets- This is a fight casual fans might forget about. Jackson signed with World Fighting Alliance after leaving Pride. There he took on Olympic silver medal wrestler and future politician Matt Lindland. Lindland has had a lot of fights against some of the greats and he’s always on the losing end of them, but this was his best fight. Jackson threw him around for most of the fight, but he came close to finishing Rampage twice with a guillotine choke. Rampage won the fun fight by split decision This fight led to Zuffa purchasing the WFA. They pretty much just bought the company so they could have Rampage.
This was a pretty good sort of number one contender fight. Rampage had just defeated his long time rival Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 and was looking to get back into title contention. It’s a little weird talking about Keith Jardine being in the title picture, but he was doing alright in the UFC at this point with wins over Forrest Griffin, Brandon Vera and Chuck Liddell. Rampage was clearly the better fighter as he won by unanimous decision, but Jardine more than held his own. The fight was spent almost entirely standing up (sorry only round one is online) and Rampage knocked him down a few times, but he got up and kept coming at him. Jackson would end up taking some time off to recover from some injuries and Machida was granted the title shot instead.
Rampage has gotten pretty annoying over recent years and has occasionally done some atrocious things, but this fight is an example why I respect him as a fighter. Lyoto Machida is an incredibly diverse and dangerous striker. At this point Machida just had the first loss of his career when he lost his title to Shogun Rua. Machida was one of the most feared fighters in the world at this point having defeated Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Thiago Silva, BJ Penn, Stephan Bonnar and Rich Franklin. Rampage didn’t care about this; he went right at Machida for nearly the entire fight. Rampage won by split decision, but there was some controversy as a lot of people thought Machida won. Dana White and I thought Rampage won the first two rounds with Compustrike and Fightmetric records agreeing. They showed that while Machida landing more strikes during the standup exchanges, Rampage out-struck Machida overall in the clinch. In the second round records again show Rampage as the busier overall fighter, and Rampage also scored a takedown. The most significant blow of the second round was also an uppercut landed by Rampage. Though I did think the rematch would have been an acceptable solution. Maybe it’ll happen if Rampage decides to return to the UFC.
In 2003, the UFC sent Chuck Liddell over to Pride to represent them in the Middleweight Grand Prix. Everybody wanted to see Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva, but Rampage just went and ruined those plans. I was never very impressed by Liddell’s wrestling in MMA (of course he rarely needed it) and in this case Rampage’s own style of wrestling just completely overwhelmed him. Liddell was finished in the second round as his corner was forced to throw in the towel as Rampage’s ground and pound was too much. This was the biggest win of his career at this point. This was a better actual fight than their rematch, but that had a much larger impact on his career and MMA as a whole.
This was the first fight of the most heated and blood thirsty trilogy in the history of MMA as you could just feel the hate between these two fighters. The two had been throwing back and forth comments at each other for awhile in Pride while Silva was the middleweight (205 lbs) champion. At Pride 17, Jackson would call out Silva after defeating Kevin Randleman. Silva would then get in the ring and shove Rampage. They would first meet in the finals of the 2003 Pride Middleweight tournament. Silva had just defeated Yoshida and Rampage just beat Liddell in the semifinals. The fight had some great brutal action but it is most remembered for Silva ending the fight by throwing seventeen knees to Rampage’s face in the Muay Thai clinch.
Griffin earned a title shot against Rampage after upsetting Shogun at UFC 76. Both fighters coached TUF 7 against each other leading up to the fight as well. Rampage was undefeated in the UFC at this point including a title win against Liddell and one title defense against Dan Henderson. Griffin was in danger early in the first round when he got dropped with an uppercut. Griffin was able to escape and comeback in the second round. Griffin hit a leg kick that hurt Rampage for the rest of the fight. Griffin was then able to take him down and dominate the rest of the round. The rest of the fight had some great back and forth striking. Rampage almost power bombed Griffin in the fourth round when Griffin had him in a triangle choke but Griffin smartly let go of the hold to avoid the damage. Griffin won the title via unanimous decision; the fight also won Fight of the Night honors and Fight of the Year by Wrestling Observer. Rampage has complained recently that he wants a rematch because he lost the first one because of racism. I think a rematch would be pretty interesting at this point in their careers even if his logic sucks.
The most memorable moment of Jackson’s career happened in this fight. Trying to get his rematch with Wanderlei Silva, Rampage first had to take on Ricardo Arona in a number one contender fight for the middleweight title. Towards the end of the first round Arona locked in a triangle choke. Jackson then picked him up slammed him down for the KO. This is easily the best slam in MMA history. Arona tried claiming that it was Jackson head butting him on the way down knocked that him out and not the slam, but come on that’s just a weak argument.
The final meeting of the two former champions took place four years later inside the Octagon. Both fighters were just at much different points in their careers at this time. Jackson was sill at the top of the light heavyweight division, but Silva was fading. Rampage had just lost the UFC light heavyweight title and Silva was 1-1 inside the UFC having lost to Liddell, but just knocked out Jardine. Of course a heated feud wouldn’t be complete without a Brazilian shoving at the weigh-ins to add a little extra drama. Both fighters started off very cautious as Silva was content with leg kicks and Jackson got in some jabs. A little after three minutes in the fight Silva missed with a big right hand and Jackson countered with a left hook knocking him unconscious. Rampage then threw three more punches with his hand around Silva’s throat with two of them being after the ref stopped the fight. There were rumors of a fourth fight for awhile but it died down as both men seemed to have buried the hatchet in recent years. This wasn’t as good as the previous two fights, but Rampage finally defeated his rival in brutal fashion.
This was a huge fight in the history of the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Liddell was the light heavyweight champion at this point and defended his title four times. The last time Liddell lost was to Jackson in the semifinals of the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. This was Rampage’s second fight in the UFC after beating Marvin Eastman at UFC 67. A minute and thirty seconds into the first round, Liddell got dropped with a right hand and went down. Rampage finished it on the ground to win the title and Liddell was never the same fighter.
This was Rampage’s first and only title defense as the UFC light heavyweight champion. The challenger was fellow Pride legend Dan Henderson. Henderson held both the Pride middleweight and welterweight titles and this was the first of two merging fights. Hendo came out to an early lead, but Rampage persevered and battled back in the later rounds as they went the distance for the full the 25 minutes. Really a great fight between two of the best light heavyweights of all time.
This was the rematch and one of the best fights Pride ever had. The first time they met was in the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix finals, this time it was for Silva’s Pride middleweight championship. Rampage earned his title shot by his legendary power bomb of Ricardo Arona. The two would top their last fight’s level of action and brutality. This fight also had some of the best clinch work you’ll see in MMA. They went into the second round and this time the Axe Murderer would only need five knees to knockout Rampage and leave him a bloody mess. This was the last good fight Rampage would have in Pride as the rest of his run in the company would be lackluster. The epic fight would be named Fight of the Year and it might get the top spot in the Pride list that is coming up fairly soon
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
• Next week will be Urijah Faber’s top ten fights.
Try not to die til next week.