Over the last few years, few fighters have received doubts about their determination and dedication than Quinton Jackson. Only a couple really come to mind, in fact (BJ Penn, Forrest Griffin), and that's definitely not a good sign. Even though "Rampage" has fought for the title recently, he was still being questioned. In the build-up to that fight, he was questioned.
Most of the questioning stopped when Jackson passed up an opportunity to fight on a big UFC on FOX card to fight at UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson. Rampage got his start with PRIDE in Japan, and was a monster back in those days. His counter left hook was absolutely killer and his slams (earning the moniker "Slampage") were brutal. In short, Japan loved Rampage and Rampage loved Japan. When the UFC announced they were making their return, Rampage was the first guy to say he wanted on the card. He could smell blood and glorious, glorious slams aplenty for his opponent, Ryan Bader. Folks stopped questioning him (for the most part) and didn't start again until the day before the fight.
When he weighed-in five pounds overweight.So Rampage forfeited 20 percent of his purse (tragic for him, a guy who has claimed he fights just for money in the recent past) and fought the fight at catchweight. He came in and looked fine, taking time to find his rhythm, which he did find at the end of the first round. By that point, he was clearly down 10-9, though - with Bader looking more slick in the striking game than we've seen.
But in the second round, Jackson came out and looked like he smelled blood. He picked up Bader, who said that Rampage wouldn't be able to slam him, and slammed him down. Hard. It could have won Rampage the round and made it even at 19-19 all, but Bader did eventually secure the takedown and hold Rampage for the remainder of the round.
In round three, Jackson simply looked lost. Bader slammed him, took him down and wrestled him for the entire round, clearly winning it 10-9. Rampage may have got up here or there, but Bader immediately had him down again. He didn't look like he had anything left. The judges granted Bader a unanimous decision, as they should have, and everyone in the building was a little bit more sad.
So where does Jackson go from here? He fought for the title when nobody thought he should have, and just lost to the guy who was steamrolled by Tito Ortiz in 2010. It's really hard to say, given how competitive 205 is. Do you feed Rampage to another guy, and hope that Alexander Gustaffson or Phil Davis make it through him? Or do you put him back down against a guy like Stephen Bonnar? Or do you go with some kind of awaited rematch, like another fight against Griffin or Mauricio Rua?
Probably one of the latter, in hopes that an angry Rampage shows up to send it all off with a bang.