MMA's most beloved, pull-no-punches fighter speaks out days before his long-awaited rematch with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell
Amid the ongoing revivalry of UFC vs Pride, a great warrior arises to the challenge. In a match that will avenge the final loss of his adversary, or award him the Light Heavyweight Championship, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (26-6) takes on the man with the dangerous hands, the Champion, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (20-3), at UFC 71 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. The question is, will Rampage crack the Ice?
Q. Recently, there were all kinds of rumors going on about a run in you had with Kevin Randleman in Las Vegas. Can you comment on this?
A. No man, that’s old news. I don’t really want to talk about it. Kevin is just Kevin. Next time I see him we will cool.
Q. There has been a lot of criticism of MMA by boxers recently. Guys like Floyd Mayweather and Antonio Tarver have labeled MMA little more than a street fight that doesn't take much athletic talent. What do you think of their criticism?
A. I think they’re just jealous and hating. MMA is more popular and the fighters make more money. There is a lot more action in MMA fights. They should just keep doin’ what they’re doin’ and be happy.
Q. How would you say your experience has been with the UFC so far? Are you happy?
A. I’m happy, but nothin’ is perfect.
Q. Do you think you are facing the same Chuck Liddell you did a few years ago, just more experienced now, or do you think he has taken his fighting to a new level?
A. If anything, Chuck has more confidence now. There’s really no way to tell which Chuck will show up. He’s a little older now, that’s all.
Q. Can you pinpoint what he did wrong back in the Pride-Final Conflict match of 2003?
A. Yes, I can. He got in the ring with me!
Q. Chuck has stated that he can’t wait for this re-match. Are you just as excited as he is to be going up against him again?
A. Not really. For me it’s just another day at the office.
Q. Liddell’s camp said afterwards that he had been injured prior to the match and was not able to train hard. Do you believe that, or is it just a cop-out?
A.I don’t believe it. He was trainin’ all over the place before the fight. Excuses are like butt-holes, everybody’s got one.
Q. Will this be a slug-fest or will you break down Chuck’s takedown defense and take him to the ground?
A. I can’t tell you that right now. I’m just goin’ to go in there and do my thing. When I step in the ring with him you’ll see what happens. I’m just goin’ there to fight.
Q. Liddell has gone back and avenged his other two losses to Randy Couture and Jeremy Horn. Does the fact that this one will complete his list of re-matches make it any more serious of a fight for you?
A. No, it’s always serious with me. There is nothing he could do or not do to make it less serious to me.
Q. Regardless of the outcome of this match, who would you like to fight next?
A. It don’t matter at all. I don’t care. I’ll fight anyone.
Q. Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
A. I’d have to say Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Q. Rumor has it that last time around Dana White bet against you and lost heavily. Will he lose his money again this time around?
A. Always bet on the black.
Q. Anyone you’d like to thank?
A. I’d like to thank my sponsor, Boost Mobile, and thanks to everyone who supports me. I want all my fans to visualize me whoppin’ Chuck’s ass.