Quinton Jackson’s Hopes to End It Where It All Began Against Ryan Bader

A man at the end of his life starts to obsess about his childhood, a man at the beginning of his career starts to think about can look forward to feeling similarly nostalgic about his present surroundings when he comes to retirement. With Quinton Jackson having finally received and lost his long awaited shot at reclaiming the UFC Light Heavyweight Title it’s no surprise that once again he’s talking about retirement.

The Jon Jones fight was the type of crashing experience that Jackson has been running the risk of for several years. Not since UFC 92 has Jackson impressed in the Octagon, and that was against a Wanderlei Silva long past his best. He came alarmingly close to losing to Keith Jardine at UFC 96, was held down and controlled in a deathly dull grudge match against Rashad Evans at UFC 114, struggled to an unconvincing and controversial victory over Lyoto Machida and never got out of first gear against Matt Hamill at UFC 130. But despite that he had never been truly outclassed, winning two of the fights and being able to claim that he came very close to knocking out Evans in the third. But against Jones he could do nothing, and while Jackson made clear he didn’t appreciate commentators criticizing his futile one-dimensionality the lack of variance of his offense was painfully apparent against Jones.

It was equally clear that the sport had passed him by. His backwards-looking mentality was clear when rejected the opportunity to avenge his loss to Rashad Evans at UFC on Fox 2. Rather than reap the benefits of national television exposure he demanded that the UFC let him fight in Japan on this show, even if it meant appearing in a lesser fight. The former gaijin superstar of the Pride middleweight division wanted to take centre stage in the promotion’s return to Japan. His desperation became more understandable when he revealed in a interview that he plans to retire should he win in his 19th fight on Japanese soil.

Standing in his way is Ryan Bader, who like Jackson had a crushing loss to Jon Jones in 2011. Bader followed that up by being the forever infamous victim of Tito Ortiz’s Hail Mary, career lengthening right hand. Bader has already lost to one fighter on the brink of retirement and on Saturday he’s going to do so again. Jackson may not be the fight he once was but it takes an exceptional wrestler to take him down, much less hold him down for three rounds. Given how Bader struggled against Antonio Rogerio Nogueria he does not look like the type of elite wrestler whose takedowns would concern Jackson. And should the fight stay standing then one can expect a reply of Jackson-Hamill, with Jackson using his boxing to methodically break down an opponent ill-suited to winning striking exchanges. No doubt in his favored arena of the Super Saitama Arena, Jackson will be looking to put an exclamation on the victory with a crowd pleasing knockout. Given the quality of Bader’s chin, he may just get it.

A man at the end of his life starts to obsess about his childhood, a man at the beginning of his career starts to think about can look forward to feeling similarly nostalgic about his present surroundings when he comes to retirement. With Quinton Jackson having finally received and lost his long awaited shot at reclaiming the UFC Light Heavyweight Title it’s no surprise that once again he’s talking about retirement.

The Jon Jones fight was the type of crashing experience that Jackson has been running the risk of for several years. Not since UFC 92 has Jackson impressed in the Octagon, and that was against a Wanderlei Silva long past his best. He came alarmingly close to losing to Keith Jardine at UFC 96, was held down and controlled in a deathly dull grudge match against Rashad Evans at UFC 114, struggled to an unconvincing and controversial victory over Lyoto Machida and never got out of first gear against Matt Hamill at UFC 130. But despite that he had never been truly outclassed, winning two of the fights and being able to claim that he came very close to knocking out Evans in the third. But against Jones he could do nothing, and while Jackson made clear he didn’t appreciate commentators criticizing his futile one-dimensionality the lack of variance of his offense was painfully apparent against Jones.

It was equally clear that the sport had passed him by. His backwards-looking mentality was clear when rejected the opportunity to avenge his loss to Rashad Evans at UFC on Fox 2. Rather than reap the benefits of national television exposure he demanded that the UFC let him fight in Japan on this show, even if it meant appearing in a lesser fight. The former gaijin superstar of the Pride middleweight division wanted to take centre stage in the promotion’s return to Japan. His desperation became more understandable when he revealed in a interview that he plans to retire should he win in his 19th fight on Japanese soil.

Standing in his way is Ryan Bader, who like Jackson had a crushing loss to Jon Jones in 2011. Bader followed that up by being the forever infamous victim of Tito Ortiz’s Hail Mary, career lengthening right hand. Bader has already lost to one fighter on the brink of retirement and on Saturday he’s going to do so again. Jackson may not be the fight he once was but it takes an exceptional wrestler to take him down, much less hold him down for three rounds. Given how Bader struggled against Antonio Rogerio Nogueria he does not look like the type of elite wrestler whose takedowns would concern Jackson. And should the fight stay standing then one can expect a reply of Jackson-Hamill, with Jackson using his boxing to methodically break down an opponent ill-suited to winning striking exchanges.

No doubt in his favorite venue of the Super Saitama Arena, Jackson will be looking to put an exclamation on the victory with a crowd pleasing knockout. Given the quality of Bader’s chin, he may just get it.  If he does it may be the perfect curtain call on a legendary career.

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