Jackson Predicts Title in 2009

By Lutfi Sariahmed Jan 8, 2009
What a difference a fight makes.

His third bout with Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 two weeks ago was one in which Quinton “Rampage” Jackson described himself as “the most focused I’d ever been in my life.” But after a hook sent Silva crashing to the mat at 3:21 into the first round, Rampage has since let loose.

“The first two times I fought him it wasn’t the time,” Jackson told Sherdog Radio’s “Beatdown” on Monday. “The UFC made the time. I wouldn’t call it a really big monkey (on my back), I just hate the fact there are people out there that beat me. Let alone twice. I just have to go out there and do my job. This is my career baby, ya know?

Jackson, 30, also looked to set the record straight about his relationship with Silva. More specifically, Jackson said the rumors that he pushed Silva at weigh-ins were not true and the bad blood is all on Silva’s end.

“Wanderlei has a problem,” said Jackson. “Back in the day he wanted everyone to be afraid of him. You guys don’t know the behind the scenes. Fighters were afraid of Wanderlei in Japan and Pride. They were scared to be in an elevator with him. They were scared to eat next to him in the hotel or the restaurant or something like that. I was one of the few guys that wasn’t afraid of him and that’s why he didn’t like me. I’m from the streets. I ain’t afraid of no man unless he has a gun in his hand.”

Though all signs point to showdown with newly minted light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans next, Jackson still has revenge on his mind.

“Give me my belt back,” Jackson said. “We all fight for the belt. If I get the belt back then maybe Forrest can get a ‘W’ and then me and Forrest could fight for the belt again. I’d rather take him out in a five-round fight. Say if I beat him in a three-round fight then all these little Internet haters could say, ‘Forrest beat him in a five-round fight, he only won in a three-round fight.’ But it don’t matter because it’s going to be a short night for Forrest any time.”

Before all that, Jackson has more immediate issues to deal with. A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Thursday to determine whether Jackson’s case will go to trial. Jackson was charged with felony evading, hit-and-run and reckless driving which led to a highly publicized chase with authorities on July 15. Jackson has pleaded not guilty to two felony and four misdemeanor counts.

While not addressing the issue specifically, Rampage noted he’s had a hectic 2008.

“I learned this world is a crazy place,” Jackson said. “We all have to live together. We have to get more mature. 2008 wasn’t all that great, but 2007 was like heaven. 2009 will be all fine because I’m going to be the man again. I’m going to get my belt back. I won’t stop for a long time. Get used to me. The UFC is my home and it changed my life and helped me bring my family together. I’m going to keep on trucking no matter what happens. I’m going to be the same man. I got my truck out of the shop. 2010 I’m going to do it again.”
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