MMA Analysis: Lessons Learned from "Rampage" Jackson v. Matt Hamill

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UFC 130 was this past holiday weekend and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson definitely dominated, but the main event left many fight fans wondering, “who did we just see?” Was it “Rampage” or Quinton that breezed through Matt Hamill on his way to a unanimous decision?

Throughout the lead up to this fight and every other fight that Jackson has been involved in over the last few years we’ve heard the same song and dance. Quinton is a nice guy, Quinton loves to have fun, Quinton hates training, but he puts the work in because come fight night Quinton becomes “Rampage”… A savage beast that walks into the arena with chains around his neck howling at the moon. ‘Rampage” is bloodthirsty and his only objective is to tear his opponent limb from limb showing absolutely no remorse in the process. So I ask you again, did we see Quinton or “Rampage” last Saturday?

There’s no doubt that he won the fight, but did he do enough to get the hardcore MMA fan or more importantly the casual fight fan pumped up to see him go out and challenge Jon Jones for the 205 lb. strap? Did he convince people that he’s going to bring the fight to Jon Jones and that he has anything more than a puncher’s chance? He sure as hell didn’t convince this guy. 

The problem is that when you trot a potential title challenger out to fight an opponent that the current champion already dismantled thoroughly, like Jon Jones did with Matt Hamill a few fights back, if the challenger doesn’t at least come close to the same level of domination, it leaves the impression that the challenger and the champion aren’t on the same level.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still believe that Jackson is a legitimate top 5 light heavyweight, but his desire to be the best at this point in his career has been questioned lately. After his role in the A-Team movie, he has been quoted as saying that as soon as movies start paying more than fighting does he will retire. I don’t blame him for that, after all, getting punched in the face for a living isn’t the easiest way to make a buck. However, my point is, if his heart isn’t into fighting 100%, why should I lay down my hard earned money to see Quinton show up and put on a lukewarm display in the octagon.

The last time I saw Rampage in the cage was at UFC 92 against Wanderlei Silva. If that guy shows up, Jon Jones may be in some trouble, otherwise, I get the feeling we’re going to see Quinton passing the torch as the most feared man in the light heavyweight division to the current champ, Jon “Bones” Jones.

Nick Frank is an avid sports fan active in fantasy leagues of all major sports and has been following mixed martial arts closely since the inception of UFC 1 in 1993. Nick hosts RotoRadio's "Cauliflower For The Ears" every Monday night at 9:30 ET on blogtalkradio alongside Brian "The Butcher" Brown and Mike "Delicious" Dolan. You may contact Nick @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @nfrankrotoex