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‘Rampage’ Jackson’s future in MMA uncertain after fight with ‘King Mo’

Rampage Jackson
Quinton Jackson said his next fight could be his last.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Quinton Jackson knows he has a fight with Muhammed Lawal coming up. Outside of that, he’s not sure what is next for his MMA career.

The bout with “King Mo” is the final one on his Bellator contract. Jackson told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he believes he still has UFC contract to fulfill from before he settled his lawsuit with Viacom. “Rampage” also said retirement is a possibility, if a potential movie or television deal gets worked out.

“If the TV stuff takes off, I’ll retire from fighting,” Jackson said. “If not, I’ll finish up my contract, finish up my stuff and then retire.”

Jackson, who has said he can no longer cut to 205 pounds to light-heavyweight fights, admitted his body “don’t want to work right no more.”

“I’ve been in a lot of wars, brother,” Jackson said.

Jackson, 38, attempted to terminate his contract with Bellator and signed with the UFC in late 2014. “Rampage” argued that Bellator had not fulfilled the terms of the contract. An overturning of a court injunction granted to Bellator allowed Jackson to fight — and defeat — Fabio Maldonado at UFC 186 in April 2015.

Early last year, Jackson settled a lawsuit with Viacom, Bellator’s parent company, and returned to Bellator. “Rampage” defeated Satoshi Ishii in the main event of Bellator: Dynamite 2 in June 2016.

Jackson (37-11) said he believes he still has to honor the UFC contract he signed in 2014 once his deal with Bellator is up. His only issue with the UFC right now, he said, is having to wear Reebok in the Octagon. “Rampage” is upset because he was one of the first UFC fighters to be sponsored by Reebok years ago, but the UFC didn’t let him wear the brand for fighters because Reebok did not pay the sponsor tax.

Now, all UFC fighters must wear Reebok during fight week and in the Octagon. Fighters are no longer allowed to wear their own sponsors. “Rampage” is adamant that he doesn’t want to wear Reebok and look the same as everyone else.

“I don’t want to look like all the other fighters,” Jackson said. “I’ve been proud to not be or act or look like any other fighters. I don’t want to have to wear the same outfit that the other fighters wear. I don’t want to blend in. I’m nothing like the other fighters. I don’t really want to look like them. I don’t want to wear the ugly-ass shorts they wear.”

If he stayed in Bellator, Jackson said he wouldn’t even know the next logical fight. He said he was supposed to fight Cro Cop on March 30, not Lawal, but Cro Cop retired earlier this month. “Rampage” said he’d love to go to Japan and fight for Rizin. He has a huge fanbase in the country from his days fighting for Pride. Jackson just isn’t sure if Rizin will pay him what he’s worth.

“I wouldn’t mind going back to Japan and fight,” Jackson said. “That’s what my heart really wants to do.”

Jackson, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, said things have improved with Bellator since he has departed with former manager Anthony McGann. He blames past issues with former Bellator president Bjorn Rebney. Still, “Rampage” thinks things could be improved. Bellator still does not have a venue in place for Bellator 175.

“I just wish that things would be a little bit different with Bellator, a little bit better,” Jackson said. “I wish I knew where the venue was right away and stuff like that. The fight is like eight weeks away, how do you not know where the venue is? I got my family texting me, like, ‘Man, we want to get our tickets now, we want to get our flights now.’”

After that fight with “King Mo,” Jackson is not 100 percent sure what will be next. This could be the end of his legendary career.

“It’s a real possibility,” Jackson said. “It’s a possibility that it could be my last fight.”

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