Six Reasons Why Rampage can’t become a UFC Champion again
He is popular and he can bang with the best fighters MMA has to offer, there is no doubt about that. However, I am also a follower of the evolving sport and, as an analyst, I must be realistic and go against my fanaticism of Jackson and say that he can’t become a UFC champion again.
MMA, particularly UFC, has evolved so fast and so much that Rampage’s style has simply become ineffective. Well, he can still win high profile fights in a different format of MMA fighting but inside the UFC cage, his chance of getting that belt is slim.
1. Too Much KO Mentality
Sad to say, Jackson has become a one-dimensional fighter. Even with his wrestling skills and credentials, he has turned into a fighter with only a single intent in his mind and that is to knock his opponents out. People pay to watch his fights because they want to see his bombs explode on his opponent’s faces. Each time he fights, Rampage fans are often left hoping that he lands that one punch. Unfortunately, it is not that easy anymore. Fighters with half a brain will not just stand there in front of Jackson.
2. No Surprises
The more you see Rampage fights, the more obvious it gets. Rampage’s octagon demise is a set blueprint and it’s just a matter of execution on the fighter’s part. Elite level fighters are highly skilled and disciplined. If they can just execute and stick to the gameplan, they can and will win against Rampage.
3. Lack in Speed and Footwork
I hate to admit it, with all his power, Rampage is just too slow. He is enormously effective in the pocket but he is incapable of getting in that pocket unless his opponents allow it. He’ll never beat speedy in-and-out fighters. With his slow footwork, speed is his main enemy. On his own, he is incapable of bridging that distance to hit his opponents with his money shots.
4. The Octagon Disadvantage
The octagon is just too wide and too round for Jackson’s style. Opponents can easily evade and dance around the cage. Fighters are difficult to cut-off and corner as they can just laterally move away from the cage and get in better spots. Put Rampage in a smaller boxing ring and he is more likely to decapitate you but in the UFC, that is obviously not the case.
5. Inability to Win Rounds
Rampage does not know how to win points. This is in conjunction to his KO mentality. He is just there to bang and not win rounds. This is one reason why fans love his fights. With Rampage, half of the element of a sensational fight is already there. But it is also a big hole in his game because, I repeat, a smart fighter will not push his luck and go toe-to-toe against Rampage. Jackson is just too skilled inside the pocket. Remember what happened to Chuck and Wanderlei? Against Rampage, all you need to do is outpoint him.
6. Limited Cardio and Discipline
It is no surprise, Rampage is known for his not-so-excellent cardio and training/conditioning discipline. You can outcardio him that’s why Rampage tends to fight slow and rather passive. He paces himself too much because he knows deep inside that his gas tank is limited. He is incapable of too much activity and perhaps why he relies too much on the KO.
The way I see it, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson can still win fights but not a chance against the likes of Machida, Rua, Anderson Silva, and yes even Evans on a rematch. I also don’t see him evolving well beyond his style. He is just what he is.
In Rampage’s last fight against Rashad, it is clear that Rashad was not willing to risk and exchange with Rampage even after Rashad just stunned him with the first punch. Evans stayed true to his gameplan and effectively won using his rather boring strategy. The fight just reinforced my analysis of Jackson.
It’s a good thing that I did not bet on Rampage like I usually do.
Although I won’t always bet my money on Jackson, I often find myself rooting for him to win. I don’t mind being proved wrong with a Rampage win over an elite fighter.