Rampage Jackson, by any name

Rampage Jackson sincerely doesn’t care what you call him.

Go ahead and ask. He’ll tell you Rampage — the nickname he picked up at age 8, and had tattooed on himself at 15 — is fine. So’s Quinton, his given name.

He’s partial to “Charles” and “Julian,” too. He won’t argue if you call him either.

No, he doesn’t care much about his name.

But he does care about winning back the UFC light heavyweight championship next weekend. And that’s potentially very bad news for Jon Jones.

“This is the best training camp of my life,” Jackson told Metro today. “I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m looking sexy. I’m ready to destroy.”

Jackson’s 33. He’s been around the block a few times — even defending the LHW belt successfully against Dan Henderson back in 2007. At 32-8 overall, he’s sporting a wealth of experience.

And he’s not sure how Jones can handle that, especially in his first bout with the belt.

“That first defense is tough as hell,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of pressure on you. You’re worried about it once you get that belt. Man, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like everything you’ve been training for since Day 1; that thing you strive for. People train hard to be the best, and once you finally get the belt, you don’t want to let it go.

“You’re thinking, ‘Man, he’s gonna try to come take my belt.’ There’s a lot of pressure; the kid’s got a lot of pressure on him. I’d rather be in my shoes that his shoes.”

Don’t think for a second that means Jackson is assuming Jones will wilt under the bright lights. He’s training at a serious pace — today, for instance, featured five seven-minute wrestling rounds against five different wrestlers — and he’s carrying just 219 pounds, easily on pace to make weight.

Plus, he knows what underestimating an opponent can do. Forrest Griffin does, too.

“The Griffin fight, I was complacent,” Jackson said. “I underestimated him. I didn’t respect him at all; I didn’t train hard for him.

“But it’s good that happened to me. It taught me a valuable lesson. I know Jon Jones ain’t no joke. But the guy he’s fighting is nowhere near the guy who fought Forrest. He won’t even be facing the guy who fought [Lyoto] Machida or Matt Hamill.”


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