Mike O’Hearn interviews MMA fighter Rampage Jackson about his rough upbringing, his aggressive fighting style, and his match against Jon Jones.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Bellator MMA fighter, and helped pioneer MMA into a worldwide sport. His eccentric personality and aggressive fighting style has made him one of the most iconic MMA fighters of all time. But always looking to improve, Jackson has turned to Mike O’Hearn to learn more about improving his diet and his training techniques. So the two sat down for a conversation as well to discuss Jackson’s career as a fighter. Presented by Generation Iron and Barbend – in this week’s episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson explains why Jon Jones is the best fighter he ever faced… but how he also fought dirty and like a “coward.”
Mike O’Hearn has a deep appreciation for pro boxers and MMA fighters. He thinks that they bring some of the most intense passion to athletics compared to almost any other sport he has seen. But O’Hearn is also aware that due to the physical combat nature of the sport – these athletes give their all until they are broken and then are often cast aside by the public.
Mike O’Hearn has always valued longevity through weightlifting, diet, and fitness over trophies and titles. But with boxing and MMA being a completely different beast – he was curious how he could help Quinton “Rampage” Jackson transform his fitness and nutrition now later in his fighting career.
Rampage Jackson admits to never focusing much on nutrition – eating mostly fast food while he intensely trained for his fights. Mike O’Hearn calls this the definition of a genetic freak. Jackson still looked like a shredded, in-shape, monster of a fighter – despite never focusing on real nutrition. O’Hearn is hoping to use that genetic gift in combination with a proper diet to help transform Jackson’s athletic life over 40.
The two also reflect on Rampage Jackson’s entire career – from his upbringing in a rough neighborhood, his discovery of martial arts, and through to some of his biggest matches. Let’s jump into it.
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Rampage Jackson on why Jon Jones is the best fighter he ever faced… but also a coward
During their conversation, Mike O’Hearn asks Rampage Jackson who the best fighters in MMA are. Jackson knew this answer easy – he believes that “The Hurt Business” star, Jon Jones is the best of the best. Despite this, Jackson was also critical of Jones’ fighting style and the dirty tactics he would employ in the octagon.
“Jon Jones is the best fighter I’ve ever fought. One of the best fighters I’ve ever seen… but when I fought him, he fought like a coward. He fights really dirty.”
– Rampage Jackson
Rampage Jackson goes on to explain the kind of tactics Jon Jones would use during matches – some of which eventually led to rules being changed in UFC. Jackson explains that Jon Jones would both go for the eyes and try to kick in a fighter’s knees backwards. This was certainly the case when Jackson faced Jones in the octagon.
Of course, temporarily disabling a fighters eyes takes away their ability to accurately block and throw punches. Meanwhile, a sever kick to the knee can not only take a fighter out for the match, it could also end a fighter’s career.
Rampage Jackson admits that he saw the brilliance in the tactics Jon Jones would use. He even considered if he would try to adopt them himself to optimize his fighting ability. But he decided that he would rather keep his honor over an edge towards victory.
How he learned to fight: Rampage Jackson’s dangerous childhood
Rampage Jackson admits that becoming an MMA fighter was an accident. Growing up he had no interest in becoming a fighter and thought he would be either a football player or wrestler instead. Compared to most MMA fighters, Jackson learned how to fight at a relatively old age. He didn’t even begin mixed martial arts training until he was 17.
While this seems young to most, it is common for most MMA fighters to learn mixed martial arts during elementary years. Since Rampage Jackson had no interest in competitive fighting – he didn’t go down this path until much later.
In fact, he only learned how to fight due to the dangerous nature of his neighborhood. Growing up in South Memphis, he needed to be able to protect himself living in a rough part of town.
Rampage Jackson describes the community he was raised in. His grandmother was a pinnacle of the community – so many would gather at and around his house. Due to this, his neighbors, who were older than him, took Jackson under their wing. They wanted to teach Jackson how to defend himself in a rough town. So they taught him how to fight.
It wasn’t until years later, where he discovered MMA, that he learned how to take those fighting skills and focus his energy into competitive sport rather than brawls in the street. But even before becoming an MMA fighter, he knew that the street life was something he wanted no part of. He is thankful for what his neighbors taught him – but perhaps not in the way they intended.
“They thought they were training me to be like them – but what they taught me is to not be like them.”
– Rampage Jackson
Jackson explains how he would see these men either go to prison or end up shot. He knew this was a path towards a dead end. So he is thankful he was able to take the fighting skill he learned and focus it more towards a path towards success.
Mike O’Hearn and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson cover a wide variety of topics that we can’t fit in this recap. This includes his first ever MMA fight, how a bodybuilder taught him to start focusing on nutrition, and further discussion on how he could transform his health and physique over 40. You can watch the full episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above.
Don’t forget to check out new episodes every Friday only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever you listen to podcasts.