Quinton "Rampage" Jackson | UNLEASHED

Published On:: 2023-03-02

Get ready for a true MMA champion! Monster Energy is proud to welcome mixed martial arts pioneer Quinton “Rampage” Jackson from Memphis, Tennessee on the sports and pop culture podcast UNLEASHED with The Dingo and Danny.

Get ready for a true MMA champion! Monster Energy is proud to welcome mixed martial arts pioneer Quinton “Rampage” Jackson from Memphis, Tennessee on the sports and pop culture podcast UNLEASHED with The Dingo and Danny.

This episode tells the incredible story of the 44-year-old athlete and pop culture personality who took MMA from its humble “cage fighting” origins into a mega sports spectacle respected across the globe.

Speaking about his unique journey, Monster Energy’s Jackson said on UNLEASHED: “Growing up with a real bad temper, it gets you in trouble. I feel like I’m the nicest guy on the planet, but I also feel like I have the worst temper on the planet. It took me years to learn how to control it, because I felt that when I lost my temper, I had unlimited strength, and no one could control me!”

“Rampage” Jackson was pushed into fighting at an early age. He found an escape by honing his skills as a classically trained wrestler, until he discovered a new concept, “mixed” martial arts fighting, a fierce blend of combat sports still in its infancy at the time. The rest is history: Jackson built a career in the early days of “cage fighting” and found success on Japan’s Pride FC circuit, ultimately claiming the Middleweight Championship belt. Back in the U.S. he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2007 and reigned as the UFC Light Heavyweight champ after a legendary knockout against MMA icon Chuck Lidell. Outside the Octagon, Rampage continues to shine as a Hollywood actor and ambassador for the sport he pioneered.


Rampage built his fighting chops from a young age on the streets of Memphis, “I’m a brawler. I’m a street fighter! I always had to beat up the bullies and hated bullies growing up,” he said on UNLEASHED. Ultimately, he channeled his energy into wrestling at Raleigh-Egypt High School and seemed poised for an amateur wrestling career when he enrolled in Lassen Community College in Susanville, California. “I started wrestling in high school because I wanted to be a pro wrestler,” said Jackson, admitting that he expected to sign up for WWF-style pro wrestling instead of ‘classic’ wrestling.


But Jackson’s outlook changed radically when he discovered mixed martial arts – and found his calling. In the mid-1990s, he successfully competed on several American “cage fighting” franchises including Dangerzone, King of the Cage, and Gladiator Challenge. “I came in as part of the second wave after the old school fighters. It was already around for a bit until I get there, but it wasn’t popular,” said Jackson.


The sport’s popularity was about to change in the early 2000s, and Jackson would play a significant hand in its success. In 2001, he made the move to Japan to star in the thriving Pride FC promotion, where he became the reigning Middleweight Champion. “Nowadays, many fighters fight not to lose. Back in the day when I started fighting, we used to walk in the cage. They locked the cage. And the best man won!”


After returning to the United States, Jackson joined the UFC early in 2007 at UFC 67. After earning the nickname “Rampage” and rising through the ranks, Jackson shook up the established order by becoming the UFC Light Heavyweight champ with a legendary knockout against Chuck Lidell. Looking at how the sport has evolved, Jackson said: “Nowadays everybody is well-rounded. When I started, I was a wrestler… So you saw my skills evolve over time. Most people now are good at everything. And they’re really good at game planning. It makes for a boring fight a little bit, to me.”


Following his UFC career, Jackson kept it far from boring by switching weight classes and competing in the Bellator promotion as a heavyweight, and still serves as an ambassador for the sport. “I don’t see MMA as violence. Some people do. I think violence is when you hate that person,” said Jackson. “It’s a mutual respect.”


As a true MMA icon, he was immortalized by appearing as a cartoon character on the Cleveland Show. He also displayed his acting chops on blockbusters including the A-Team movie and starred on several TV shows, including Jackass.