Longtime UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has gone on to become one of UFC's most valuable prize fighters, even defeating Chuck Lidell in 2007.
But how is he preparing for this Saturday's fight, UFC 135 at the Pepsi Center in Denver? We headed into his training facility to find out.
When I arrived at the "MusclePharm," the 35,000 square foot training facility that Jackson (record: 32-8 over twelve years in the UFC) has called his Denver home for the past eight weeks, I was met by his manager, who told me "Rampage" was having a "down day" -- meaning I wouldn't be able to get any training photos. But Jackson was able to sit down with me, and he seemed calm and cool -- not like a guy who'll be fighting in a steel cage in less than a week.
Let's face it: Denver can be an exhausting place once you get off the plane from sea level. But Jackson seems to be handling the altitude well: "I've adjusted pretty easy, it only took a couple of weeks. I've trained at altitude before, so it was nothing new."
Jackson also seemed to extremely confident: Still, he admitted that "you still get nervous; this is a pretty big fight. It's kind of far out to be nervous. When you think about it sometimes, you get nervous; it's natural. It shows that you're human.
"That's when it really hits you; that's the worst thing about being a professional fighter. When you are fighting on the street, you just go, you just react and you know you're about to get into a fight. But it's the anticipation, that's the worst to think about."
Jackson has a laid-back approach to combating pre-show jitters under conditions only a few people could understand. In his words, "You can't let it get to you. You don't worry about it."
When asked if he's enjoying Denver, and if he is excited to see the support from his fans, Jackson replies, "I have met a few of the fans, being here for as long as I have. But no matter where I fight, the fans are not there; I have tunnel vision, so it's like the fans are not there. The only person I see is my opponent. If I win a fight and I'm walking out from the cage, that's when I notice them."
Jackson has a promising acting career, having recently played B.A Baracus in the 2010 remake of The A-Team. When asked if he would consider more acting roles, and whether that might lead him to retire from UFC, he says, "I have more fights in me, but I like acting. It's a great career to go into after fighting."
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will be fighting Jon Jones at the Pepsi Center on September 24. Tickets are still available and the match will be broadcasted live on pay-per-view.
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