Quinton "Rampage" Jackson campaigned for a role at UFC 144, a wish that was granted by UFC president Dana White. But the voyage was ill fated. Jackson lost in a fairly lopsided unanimous decision to Ryan Bader, a defeat that he says was in part caused by a knee injury suffered in training camp.
Jackson said he hurt himself wrestling during his preparation, but that he decided to stay in the fight because of his desire to fight in front of the Japanese fans again. He also added that the injury was re-aggravated during a Bader slam during the bout.
"If I’m going to be critically honest, I’m not surprised I lost the fight," he said, acknowledging that his doctors told him not to compete.
Jackson didn't specify the exact injury he endured, but said that it would not require surgery.
During fight week, speculation grew that Jackson would announce his retirement win or lose after the bout. Perhaps it was his wistful attitude or reflective state during the days leading up to UFC 144 that led to those assumptions, but Jackson shot them down, denying that he would hang up his gloves despite falling into the first two-fight losing streak of his career.
The 33-year-old said that his performance in training prior to the knee injury proved to himself that he was still capable of performing at a world-class level, and implied that he'll rehabilitate his injury and rededicate himself to training.
"I know what I can do if I come in 100 percent, so I think I got a lot of years left," he said. I’m ready to put on more shows. I heal up fast. I’m like a werewolf. I wasn’t even supposed to fight here. I heal up fast, so I’ll be back real soon."
According to FIghtMetric, Bader out-struck Jackson 109-30 during the course of the three-round bout, and he also scored four takedowns compared to one for Jackson.
With the loss, Jackson fell to 32-10.