Smiles abound when Quentin “Rampage” Jackson enters a room. He’s full of good-hearted cheer.
“She went out with Jamie Foxx,” jokes Jackson (25-6) about one of the publicists for the upcoming UFC match. “Ask her.”
Jackson happily dances through his drills of pounding mitts with his fists, kicking dents into heavy bags and moving side to side.
But no jokes will be spouted in UFC 67 when Jackson meets Marvin Eastman (13-6-1), one of the few men to ever beat him in the ring on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The fight card can be seen on pay-per-view.
Jackson’s contract was recently purchased when his promotion company was bought by Zuffa, LLC. that owns Ultimate Fight Championship.
No problem. Jackson wanted to beat them up anyway.
“We have a two fight deal,” said Juanito Ibarra, who trains and manages Jackson. “Rampage is going to blow up.”
Most everyone in the mixed martial arts world lets out a gasp of air when told Jackson is now fighting under the UFC banner. His reputation as a fighter needs little promotion.
“First time I won I slammed that dude 15 times,” explains Jackson about his first foray into the world of MMA. “I like to put on a good show.”
With his inch-thick silver chain around his neck, Jackson looks like a wild man seeking a victim. Someone who should be supervised by three or four highly-trained restrainers.
But in reality he’s a comical athlete who could teach Barry Bonds a thing or two about public relations and also possesses a serious side that blinds you like a phantom left hook.
“I’m worried about global warming,” he says. “What’s the world going to be like for my children and their children?”
Global warming aside, Jackson wants success.
“My goal is to be the best fighter the world has ever seen,” Jackson says.
His dream is to fight current UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman”
Liddell, a fighter he’s already defeated.
“Let’s make a little deal before the fight. If he (Liddell) beats me he can have my chain,” says Jackson laughing. “Or if I beat him, I shave off his Mohawk in front of all the fans.”
Serious or kidding, Jackson brings a new element to UFC.
Also on the fight card will be Eddie Sanchez fighting former Pride champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (21-4-2) in a heavyweight showdown.
“I know he’s a legend with a lot of experience,” said Sanchez, 24. “But I’m looking forward to fighting him.”
Sanchez, who lives in Temecula, comes from a baseball background and played catcher for Palomar College in the San Diego area. And he has that gun of a right arm to prove it.
“I’ve always been able to hit hard,” says Sanchez (8-0). “Maybe it’s my baseball background.”
He’s facing an incredible task when he faces world renown Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in a heavyweight match. Few would even consider meeting the legend without a few dozen fights under their belts.
“Hey, it’s going to be an honor,” said Sanchez, who is half Mexican and half Dominican. “These are the kind of fights you dream about.”
Middleweight champion Anderson Silva (17-4) of Brazil meets Travis Lutter (12-3) of Texas in the co-main event.
Silva, a Muy Thai specialist, is coming off back-to-back victories over UFC veteran stars. Will Lutter be the third victim?
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?