On Saturday night, Quinton Jackson’s time as a UFC light heavyweight may finally come to a close.
Jackson, who has not competed in 11 months and underwent knee surgery last year, has vocally anticipated the conclusion of his UFC contract so that he could test the waters of free agency. With his fight now clearly on the horizon, the 34-year-old former champion stands just over 24 hours from what could be his last battle in the Octagon.
The former Pride Fighting Championships star meets Glover Teixeira on Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 6. The event takes place at Chicago’s United Center and airs live on Fox’s flagship network. Though many expect Jackson’s duel with Teixeira to be a slugfest, Jackson believes the native Brazilian will instead look to take him to the mat.
“Glover is a guy who says he’s going to knock me out and stand with me, but he’ll just try to take me down like other guys I’ve fought. It’s cowardly to say what you want to do and get me to focus somewhere else and have me training other areas,” Jackson said during a recent media conference call. “I’m smarter than that now. I’ve pretty much found out that he’s going to try to wrestle me and take me down. I used to respect him a lot as a fighter, but I see his game plan and I’m disappointed. I’m looking forward to a good fight, and I’m ready to go anywhere.”
In Teixeira, Jackson faces a 21-fight vet who, despite being long considered a top talent outside the UFC fold, made his Octagon debut just last May against Kyle Kingsbury, submitting the American Kickboxing Academy representative with an arm-triangle. The hard-hitting Teixeira was then briefly linked to a UFC 149 fight with former champion Mauricio Rua, but “Shogun” turned the fight down. As a result, Teixeira instead returned to the cage this past October at UFC 153, delivering a brutal beating to Fabio Maldonado.
“I think the reason why people didn’t want to fight [Teixeira] is, ‘Who is he?’ People haven’t really heard of him. If you look at Glover’s record, who has he really fought? He hasn’t fought any top names. The biggest guy he fought was Ricco Rodriguez, and he’s past his time,” said Jackson of his upcoming foe. “I fight for my career, and I’ve never turned down a fight the UFC offered me. The only person I tried to duck was Matt Hamill because he was a boring fighter. I saw the videos of him trying to hold me against the cage and wrestle me. He’s not a real fighter.”
Though his UFC career may be coming to a close, Jackson said he hopes to continue his involvement in MMA and may even try his hand in a different combat sport in the future.
“I think I’ll have fun once I leave the UFC and fight for an organization where I feel appreciated. My objective is to fight and put butts in seats and have people give me a pat on the back and thank me for fighting injured when I could have pulled out. I have a few more years in me. My training camp is going really well, and my knee is strong,” said Jackson. “I’ve put my time in. I did my thing. I think my next challenge, if I go somewhere, is I want to be exciting. Maybe I’ll do some boxing, some kickboxing and stuff like that. I’ve done jiu-jitsu tournaments, wrestling tournaments, kickboxing fights, but I’ve never done boxing. ‘Kimbo Slice’ is doing it, and he’s doing pretty good.”