“I’m just glad Rampage accepted the fight. I had my doubts if he would or not. I’m glad he’s so motivated. He won’t have any excuses when I beat him. I will prove I belong in the title mix at 205 (pounds)… ‘Rampage’ is an old-school brawler. I’m much more of a complete mixed martial artist. I have the heart to break his will, and I will make ‘Rampage’ very uncomfortable in this fight… “As for a title shot, I only have eyes for ‘Rampage.’ I don’t care what happens after that. He’s the guy I want right now.”
—Matt Hamill talking to MMA Junkie about his upcoming fight against Rampage Jackson at UFC 130
Fans may not be too excited about him stepping in for Thiago Silva, who’s still in drug-testing limbo, but Matt Hamill clearly is. It’s easily the biggest opportunity of his career, and his trainer, Duff Holmes, thinks Hamill has what it takes to beat Rampage.
“It won’t affect our preparation at all,” Holmes said. “If anything it will be an easier fight strategically than preparing for Phil Davis. It’s no secret that ‘Rampage’ likes to stand and bang. That’s the reason I’ll buy any pay per view that he’s fighting on. He’s always exciting to watch. I think Matt has the chin to take his best shot, the power in his hands to answer, and the skills and strength to put him in some bad situations on the ground.”
I don’t know how far an upset win would take him exactly but it would sure do more for his career than beating a promising, but still developing Phil Davis. Of course, whether he can actually pull of the upset is the question. We saw Rampage struggle with Rashad Evan’s wrestling, but I don’t see Hamill being as effective with his. I don’t see Hamill hanging with Rampage on the feet either. It’s going to be a tough fight and true test to see how far Hamill has progressed in recent years.
As for Rampage, he really wanted the rematch with Rashad, but once he heard how bad Hamill wanted a shot at him, he changed his mind. As he put it to Yahoo! Sports, “He wants me? Well, he can have me. I’m gonna knock him into tomorrow.”
Image via Terry Goodlad for Sherdog