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'Rampage' Jackson Offers Weighty Explanation for Turning Down Title Shot

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson did indeed turn down a chance to fight Mauricio "Shogun" Rua for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 128, Jackson confirmed via his Twitter earlier today, but it's the reason he turned it down that gives us an insight into the current state of his MMA career.

"I turned down the fight cause of short notice,I would have 2 lose 45 lbs n 4 weeks,u would have 2 be a fighter 2 understand,life goes on," Jackson tweeted on Tuesday.

Of course, after he turned down the chance to step in for the injured Rashad Evans, the UFC offered it to Evans' teammate, Jon Jones, who was only too happy to seize the opportunity. So what does that tell us, aside from the fact that Jackson is walking around closer to the heavyweight limit than the light heavyweight one?

For starters, it tells us a little something about how badly he wants to be a champion again. If the UFC offered Jackson the title shot before giving it to Jones, it means he would have had at least six weeks to prepare. While not the ideal time frame, it's also not unheard of. Look how many guys are willing to jump in on two or three weeks notice just to get themselves one step closer to a title shot. You could argue about the wisdom of it from time to time, but the point is, it happens frequently.

If your goal is to be champion again – and if you're not completely out of shape when you get the call – six weeks is certainly doable.

But there's that 'if.'

Jackson isn't exactly known as a gym rat, and he'll be the first to admit that he views training more as a chore than a passion. With his next fight slated for UFC 130 in May, chances are he's nowhere near fighting condition in early February. If you have to spend the majority of your camp simply getting in shape rather than working on specific skills and honing a game plan, it definitely hurts your chances.

But then, dropping the weight in time for the fight isn't impossible. It might not be fun to shed 45 pounds in six weeks, but with the help of Mike Dolce and his vaunted "Dolce Diet," Jackson could absolutely make 205 pounds by the day of the weigh-ins on March 18.

That is, if he wanted to. If it was important enough to him.

Jackson's already been a UFC champion. He's had a storied career and enjoyed the fame that goes with it. Depending on when you ask him, he might tell you that fighting is merely a way to make money, or that his focus is solely on getting his belt back. His reaction to this chance to do both at once tells us that one might be more important than the other.

Maybe I just don't understand because, as Jackson aptly points out, I'm not a fighter. Then again, plenty of fellow fighters have gotten a similar phone call from the UFC – often with far less than six weeks to prepare – and have jumped at the chance.

Take Jones, for instance, who will go straight from one training camp and subsequent fight to the next. You could argue that at least this meant he was already in shape, but it also meant his body was probably banged up and worn down after months of hard training. He took the fight anyway, despite the short notice, because he saw the chance to potentially become a champion. He's young and hungry and he's trying to get to the mountaintop.

Rampage? He's been there already. Maybe that makes him a little less eager to get back there again. Or maybe it just means that he's only willing to make the climb on his own timetable, and when he's not carrying so much extra weight to begin with.