Anyone who has followed Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
's mixed martial arts career knows that he's never been a gym rat, and that if he takes more than a year off from fighting, he's going to allow himself to get out of shape. That's just who he is.
But even knowing that, I was surprised to learn just how fat Rampage was at the start of his training camp for Saturday night's fight with Rashad Evans
: 251 pounds.
That's what Mike Dolce, Jackson's strength and conditioning coach, revealed on the latest episode of UFC Primetime
"Day 1 of this camp, Quinton was 251 pounds," Dolce said. "Today he is 221 ripped pounds."
narrator said that following an intense 13-week training camp, "Today, he's 30 pounds slimmer and in the best shape of his career."
I don't care if Dolce and Primetime
want to put a positive spin on it, but the fact that Rampage got so heavy absolutely raises questions about whether he can get back into the kind of shape he was in at the top of his career. When Rampage was in his 20s, he'd fight every few months (in 2003 he actually had six fights in Pride) and never have time to get out of shape. But now he's in his 30s, and no matter how hard he's worked over the last 13 weeks,he's coming off a year in which he allowed himself to get into the worst shape of his life.
And while Jackson was allowing himself to get into the worst shape of his life, Evans was continuing to train at Greg Jackson's gym and continuing to fight, beating Thiago Silva in January. And unlike Rampage, Evans has been known as a gym rat.
None of this means Rampage can't win on Saturday night, of course. But when you hear that Rampage weighed 251 pounds 13 weeks ago, is there any doubt in your mind who will be in better shape when they step into the Octagon?