Can UFC's Rampage win without a team?
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The Ultimate Fighting Championship held a media call for UFC 123, Rampage vs. Machida, taking place Saturday.
On the call were four former UFC champions, former light heavyweight champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida, former two-time UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes and former UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn.
Usually on media calls the featured fighters would talk about winning their previous bout. In this case, three of the four fighters are coming off huge losses and two of them lost championship bouts.
One of the fighters, Rampage Jackson, was quite candid about his loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 114. Said Jackson, “I knew I lost that fight before I even stepped in the cage. The day I lost that fight was a couple of weeks before the fight even started, so it had nothing to do with the movie [A-Team], tour or anything.”
He didn’t go into details about why he thought he had lost the fight before the event, only stating, “We’ll I’d like to keep that personal.” But, one can extrapolate from the remaining answers on the call that his relationship with his kids is really important and that my have played a role. If you recall Jackson’s training camp was spend in Widnes, United Kingdom, with Michael Bisping preparing for the Evans fight.
Many of us watched as the UFC aired UFC Primetime, it’s pre-fight behind-the-scenes show leading up to the event. On the show Jackson said, “I can’t wait to destroy you [Evans]. That’s all I think about is you and your big mouth. That’s what motivates me to train hard. I never trained this hard in my entire life.” If that statement were true, it would mean that mixed marital arts is just as mental as it is physical. If he was physically ready, it only means he was not mentally ready.
On the call Jackson was asked about moving his training camp from the U.K. to the United States. Jackson said, “I just bought a new house and I just decided to train right down the street from my house.”
That sounds a lot like Brock Lesnar's situation. One can only hope that Rampage has not surrounded himself with “yes men” and that he has brought in some tough fighters to train against.
It seems that fighters that have earned a significant amount of money (millions), tend to get away from the team concept of training.
If you look at the current champions, they all train with teams. Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez trains with American Kickboxing Academy, Lightweight Champion Mauricio Rua with Universidade da Luta (UDL), Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva with Black House, Welterweight Champion George St.-Pierre with Jackson’s Submission Fighting, Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar with Renzo Gracie Combat Team, Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo with Black House, Bantamweight Dominick Cruz with Team Lloyd Irvin.
I know Lesnar was about to be the Heavyweight Champion, but many believe the lack of a fighting team was his downfall.
Do you believe an MMA fighter can train with his/her own personal trainers and sparring partners and become a champion?