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Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson on Wanderlei Silva and Why Acting Is Easier Than Fighting

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has had a long year.

At the start of 2008, Jackson was the Ultimate Fighting Championship's light heavyweight champion, he was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, and he was one of the most popular and successful fighters in mixed martial arts.

But Jackson lost his title belt in an epic battle with Forrest Griffin on July 5, and 10 days later he was arrested and charged with felony evading, hit and run and reckless driving, and shortly after that he was hospitalized for a mental health evaluation. Many of Jackson's fans worried that he would never be back.

But he is back, working with new trainers and preparing to fight the opponent who has beaten him twice, Wanderlei Silva, at UFC 92 on December 27.

In a phone interview, I talked to Jackson about fighting Silva again, his preparation, and why he hopes to have a career as an actor.

The first time you fought Wanderlei Silva you lost by first-round TKO and the second time you fought him you lost by second-round KO. What's going to be different this time?
The only thing different is now I'm ready to fight him and the first two times I wasn't. The first time I fought Chuck (Liddell) right before I fought Wanderlei and that wore me out. The second time I had all kinds of personal things going on and most people would have backed out of that fight, but I wouldn't back out of a fight.

Your most recent fight was also a loss, a decision to Forrest Griffin. Did you think you won that fight?
I didn't know at the time because when I'm fighting I don't even know what's happening. But looking at it now I think I should have won.

After losing that fight you split with your trainer, Juanito Ibarra, and now you're at the Wolfslair MMA Academy in England. How is training different for you now?
Here at Wolfslair we just do things differently. I'm training a lot harder. My last trainer was a control freak and I don't think he knew what he was doing in certain areas. Now my training is a lot better because I have experts training me in every area, not just one guy acting like he's the expert in everything. Now I've got experts training me in Muay Thai, jiu jitsu, nutrition, everything. My training is stress free because it's with people who are doing it the right way.

When you head into this fight, are you going to have a specific game plan for how you're going to approach Wanderlei, or do you just have to let the fight come to you and react to whatever happens?
Most of the time I do have a game plan, but he'll have a game plan as well and I'll have to adjust in the fight. I'll have a game plan, but fighters have to be ready because everything's not going to go according to my game plan. I'll just have to fight the way I fight.

How much do you weigh right now and how hard is it for you to cut weight and get down to 205 pounds by the day before the fight?
I don't like to discuss how much I weigh right now, but I don't cut weight, I just diet really good most of the time.

When I look at you and I look at Wanderlei, I think you're a bigger 205-pounder than he is. Do you think you'll have a size advantage?
I don't know if size is an advantage. People think size is an advantage but it can be a disadvantage if you're fighting the right person. But I don't worry about that.

Let's talk about the media attention you've gotten. You were recently profiled in The Atlantic. What did you think of that?
I don't even know what The Atlantic is.

Really? You have to know the reporter who interviewed you for the profile.
Yeah, I'm over here in England and I'm not even thinking about that. I'm not thinking about anything except Wanderlei.

A lot of the attention from the media has been about the incidents over the summer. What can you tell your fans who are concerned about that?
Everything's all good.

Are these still things you can't talk about?

The main event at UFC 92 is between Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans for the light heavyweight title. If you win that night do you think you deserve a title shot against the winner of that fight?
I haven't even really thought about it. I'm focusing on one thing and that's Wanderlei. I don't care what else is going on that night.

Who's the toughest opponent you've ever faced?

What do you mean by that?
Most of the time I lose, I'm fighting myself.

So what do you have to do not to beat yourself?
Just be mentally prepared. That's how I'm going to be.

Some people say the UFC plays hardball with its fighters, and that the fighters don't get very good contracts. What do you think?
I have really good relationships with the UFC. I'm very thankful to be in the UFC.

You've fought in a lot of organizations -- you had 17 fights in Pride, you fought for King of the Cage and Gladiator Challenge, and Dana White has said the reason the UFC bought the assets of the World Fighting Alliance was to get your contract. How has fighting for those other organizations compared to fighting in the UFC?
UFC's the best.

You're 30 years old. How much longer will you fight?
I'm not sure.

Randy Couture is still fighting at age 45. Will you keep going as long as Randy?
Hell no.

Well, how long then?
I don't know. I'm not psychic. But I like doing movies and acting. To be honest, as soon as acting pays me more than fighting, I'll be an actor.

It's easier than fighting.

Because in acting you don't get punched in the face?
I don't mind getting punched in the face. It's the getting in shape that bothers me. You've got to understand, it's three months of work for a 15-minute fight. A lot of people don't understand all the pressure and all the -- I guess you could probably say stress or whatever that goes with training or fighting. I don't think anyone would ever know unless they've trained for a fight. You've got fans you don't want to let down, and then you've got fans who cuss you and you wish you could slap them. Whether you win or lose a fight you've got fans who say stuff. When you're a fighter, people look at you a certain way, they treat you different. Acting is easy. Fighting is reality.

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