Rampage Jackson was a guest on Inside MMA and sat down for a uniquely revealing video with his old friend Bas Rutten. Rutten, an MMA legend himself, clearly has Jackson's friendship and respect and it's a great interview. Parts 2 and 3 after the jump.
Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion transcribed the interview. Here are some highlights:
On the difference between American and Japanese fans:
BAS RUTTEN: "The peak of PRIDE or the peak right now with the UFC, if you have to choose an event where to fight what would you do?"
RAMPAGE JACKSON: "Man, I tell you, honestly, I miss those PRIDE rules. I miss the fans where you could hear your corner men, you know, that's important, we forget how important it is. If I had to choose, I would pick PRIDE. The energy that the Japanese fans bring when that song comes on. That's why I came out to the PRIDE song my last fight because the energy that it brought me but the fans are different so the energy wasn't 100% there. The Japanese fans I have to honestly say they bring a different energy to the fight and I really like that energy that they bring. I'm not saying it's better or worse, but in my opinion I would rather fight in front of the Japanese."
RAMPAGE JACKSON: "I'll tell you, like, the main reason why I turned down this fight with Shogun recently is because, you know what I'm saying, I was overweight, I wasn't training for my fight. It happens, you know what I'm saying, it's one of my hang-ups, one of my flaws. When I fought Shogun the first time, I came in with a really bad ankle injury where I couldn't run and get my cardio because I really didn't have a sparring partner, I had to hire sparring partners back then and I hired this clown who would when I come to punch him he would throw low ankle kicks and dislocated my ankle. And I'm paying the guy, I'm paying the guy to hurt me. I fired him and never used him again. So, I'm trying to hang with these top strikers, you know, because back then I didn't have people... it always haunted me that I couldn't, you know, fight at 100% or close to 100% Shogun and I went out there with a stupid game plan, 10 minute rounds, knew I didn't have cardio and I was going to take it slow and, you know, fight my fight and he just jumped on me. So, I said in my mind like I know I'll get a rematch with him one day and I want to be close to 100% and I want to fight the fight that I originally planned on fighting the first time when I was training for him. So, that's why I couldn't take the fight with Shogun.
"I got all the respect for Shogun. He's a nice guy, you know, he never says anything disrespectful about me. He's a great fighter and I could tell in his last fight (against Forrest Griffin) he was rusty, it was a good chance that I probably could have done great against him but I wouldn't have even made the weight. So, I want to fight Shogun when it's time."