For the first 13 years of his career, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson never once lost consecutive fights. Obviously now, with three straight losses dotting his recent record, that streak no longer applies. But Jackson, Viacom's latest prized free agent pick-up, isn't concerned about the naysayers writing him off as a washed up fighter.
"That's what people do," Jackson told MMAFighting.com. "Honestly, I'm not really caring too much because it ain't common sense. Yeah I lost to Jon Jones. It was a good fight; beside Rashad (Evans), I think I was one of the best with him.
"Against Ryan Bader, it was no secret I got hurt, I needed surgery. Then I had surgery, and my first fight back from surgery, I fight Glover (Teixeira). He's real tough, you know? You're coming back from surgery, you're going to need a warm-up fight. Fans, they don't understand that. So they can say what they want, it don't bother me. Let them do what they're going to do, so when I get my stuff together and I make my comeback, then the rest will be history."
After all the ups and downs of recent years, Jackson's life is now focused on positivity. It's what helps the 35-year-old through the daily grind to rebuild his body back to 100-percent.
All of the rest, the cynicism and criticism, is just background noise.
"Man, think about it. There's a lot of people that watch UFC, they don't even know the name of the sport," Jackson said. "They think the sport is called UFC. They're like, ‘Bro, you train UFC?' I'll be like, ‘Dumbass, don't nobody train UFC.' You know what I'm saying? Those are the people that watch the sport and listen to Dana, so I take what they say with a grain of salt. They don't know anything about our sport."
And so Jackson pushes forward, a busy man directing all of his energy into this next chapter of life.
Jackson's Viacom deal, the particulars of which have been discussed ad naseum, was never truly about fighting. In his own words, "every other organization out there" wanted Jackson to come fight for them, so why not do so? Rather, Jackson views his deal as a gateway to something more; a way for the former champion to build his brand into a self-sustaining beast that will carry him into a post-competition life.
"That happened for a reason," Jackson said. "People are interested in watching me on TV because I know I like to joke around and have fun and make people laugh. That's what I've been dying to do, so I know I could do it for my own reality show instead of doing a damn UFC reality show where I only make $700 a week."
His UFC days may be behind him, although it'd be easy for Jackson to become distracted by his many Viacom side projects, from planning his new reality show to penning movie scripts. But above all else, right now Jackson is still a fighter by trade, and he understands the promotion he signed with runs things a little differently than the way he's used to.
To that end, Jackson actually believes participating in a Bellator tournament could be beneficial in a strange way.
"I do blow up in between fights. So if I got a fight, then I go out there and don't get injured, and I have to go back to train, that's good," Jackson explained. "That's good for me because I like the nightlife. I'm not going to lie. I'm the type of person that has a short attention span. I can't just sit at home at all the time. I can't do it. I have my home time, then I have my friends and my nightlife. I like it.
"So if I have a short time in between training camps, you better believe it [helps]. Because one thing I don't have is self-discipline. I know I don't. But that's why I hire people to do stuff. I hire a cook to cook for me because I like food. I got a manager, I got coaches, I got personal trainers. I hire people to make me do stuff that I wouldn't normally make myself do, because I'm real. I'm real to myself and I know myself."
That sense of self-awareness is the reason Jackson opened his arms to this new life filled with new challenges.
And ultimately, Jackson holds just as much faith in the man who led him here as he does in his ability to prove all the doubters wrong one more time.
"I know [Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney] doesn't have any ego, and I know if he wants me to do a tournament, it's not because he wants to see how bad I get my ass kicked, or something like that," Jackson said in closing.
"If I get my body back and I get going, everything like that, I've got a lot of gas left in the tank."