While Rampage has had his ups and downs during his tenure with The UFC, his departure from the organization now seems to be certain. This leaves us with the lingering question. How will Jackson’s achievements in The Octagon be remembered? Will he simply walk out and fade away into B-movie obscurity, or will he leave a lasting impression worthy of a hall of fame career?
Since there is no official MMA Hall of Fame, The UFC Hall of Fame is about as good as it gets. Now for Rampage, that could be a bit disheartening. Jackson amassed a 7-4 record while inside the Octagon as of today. Tomorrow’s fight with Glover Tiexiera obviously hasn’t been counted. This leaves him with a less-than-awe-inspiring record. Even with a win over Glover, he’s left losing half as many fights as he’s won.
Now, as The UFC has done in the past, they may look into Jackson other achievements. First, Jackson holds a 32-10 pro MMA record, but as I said earlier only 11 of those are UFC fights. While under The UFC banner, Jackson was able to unseat Chuck Liddell back at UFC 71 and take the light heavyweight belt for himself. That, at the time, was no small task, so Jackson gets a point to his name. Jackson followed up with a very decisive win over Dan Henderson who had freshly transferred from Pride to The UFC, so 2 points for Jackson. After Jackson lost his title to Forrest Griffin in the Summer of 2008, He swore to come back stronger and better. He did so in a devastating KO win over his arch-rival Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92, an event I had the pleasure of attending. Sadly, as 2008 ended “Rampage” did too.
As of now, Rampage has failed to finish off any opponent since his win over Wandy back in 2008. He notched off a few less-than-inspired wins over Jardine, Machida (Though I agree with the decision, many do not.), and Matt Hamill (and loses to Evans, Jones, and Bader) respectively. So, what happened to Rampage? Where’d all the KO wins and highlights go? They went far away as soon as Jackson chose to act. He took up acting in late 2009 after an injury forced him out of a title shot against then champion Rashad Evans. Jackson’s first fight back included a one sided spanking at the hands of Rashad Evans. Evans won by a unanimous decision. Jackson bounced back with a razor edge win over Machida and a snoozefest win over Matt Hamill. Jackson followed those two fights up with a title shot against current champ Jon Jones. The fight showed Rampage’s first time being finished (choke) in The Octagon. Rampage again swore to get back into top form, as he returned to Japan where he began fighting. He was defeated by rising star Ryan Bader.
All the while Rampage turned out entertaining fights; he also was constantly at odds with UFC President Dana White. As we all know, White isn’t a man you want to upset. Rampage swore several times he was done with The UFC, but each time, whether he was pacified by The UFC or he just realized there aren’t any big name promotions left for him, he stayed. This time around it appears he really will leave, but how many times can you trust a boy calling wolf?
Rampage has had a very successful career all things considered, and he was/still is a good fighter, but his years in Pride failed to produce a champion, and his time in The UFC only saw him manage one title defense. Rampage was too young and new to earn the “pioneer” ticket to the Hall of Fame which got Randy Couture and Mark Coleman in, and while he did show glimpses of greatness, he never broke through as a great fighter. So no, Rampage Jackson has not earned himself a spot in the Hall of Fame.