September 22, 2011

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Rampage Jackson employing mind games against indomitable “Bones” Jones

By: Jeff Herbst

If you ask me, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is one of the best to compete in MMA. He rose to prominence in Japan’s Pride Fighting Championships and unified the UFC and Pride FC light-heavyweight championships. He holds wins over Dan Henderson (in that unification bout), Lyoto Machida, Keith Jardine and Kevin Randleman. He’s blasted both Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva to smithereens. His accomplishments allow him to wear a chain around his neck and howl at the moon, for he’s earned the right to back down to nobody.

Rampage’s track record, brute force and searing intensity make him a formidable opponent for champion Jon Jones at UFC 135 on September 24. Whether or not you believe Jackson’s claims that someone from Jones’ camp deployed a spy to go undercover and watch his training sessions, he’s using bizarre tactics to get into Jones’ head.

This will be Jones’ first title defense with the winner to meet Rashad Evans. Like his bitter enemy, Evans, Jackson is a former UFC champion at 205. And like Evans, Jackson is hell-bent on creating animosity before the big fight. Rampage is sequestered somewhere in Denver in preparations for the bout and took to Yahoo! Sports to accuse Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa, of espionage activity, even going as far to say that Jones is scared and looking for a way to back out.

Kawa vehemently denied those accusations. “I promise to God, I have no spy in that camp,” he said. “It’s completely and totally untrue. There is nothing to it at all.” Jones took to Twitter to respond to Jackson’s handle for what he said is the only time he will address the issue.

“Just so you know, I’m not a person who looks for shortcuts in life,” Jones told Jackson before taking a shot at his priorities. “Unlike you, MMA is not something I do because of money. It’s a way of life for me and I would never disrespect the integrity of that. I have way more faith in myself, as well as, respect for the art of fighting to ever stoop that low, that’s just bad karma. Believe me or not, I’ve said my part. Hoping you have a safe and healthy finish to your camp #Respect.”

Rampage has often utilized the intimidation factor and prayed on fear, but at age 33, largely inactive due to filming “The A-Team” and looking at more than likely his last chance at reclaiming the title, a bug just might be in his own mind. Jones, the youngest champion in UFC history, has demolished all comers on his fast track to the top and at 24 is already ranked one of the top-10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world by various outlets. Jackson is a winner of his last two, but many had Machida winning that one and his last opponent, Matt Hamill, offered little opposition. There’s no questioning that Rampage remains a top contender, but he’s also one-dimensional compared to the array of creative attacks Jones unveils in every battle. Nobody, not even the great Maurício “Shogun” Rua, has stood a chance against Jones’ onslaught. Jackson questioning Jones’ manhood will either reveal a weakness or end up the biggest mistake of his career.