Monster Mash set for UFC 144

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:37 AM ET

TOKYO - To some, he is Godzilla.

A legendary monster with an unmistakable battle cry and an entrance that is neither subtle nor without hysteria.

In its first voyage back in nearly a dozen years and the first since president Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta took over the fight club Quinton (Rampage) Jackson is the UFCs secret weapon to win back fight-starved Japanese fans.

A veteran of 17 fights in the now-defunct PRIDE fighting championship, Jackson begged and pleaded to be on Saturday nights televised UFC 144 card.

He got his wish and a willing opponent in Ryan (Darth) Bader.

For Jackson, the event is a sort of homecoming.

I had a lot of success here, but the real reason I was so anxious to be on this UFC 144 card is that have a special bond with the Japanese fans, said Jackson, whose two wars with Wanderlei Silva and his defeat of Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell in Japan endeared him to fans.

Ive really missed fighting here just the whole energy of the place and how they go crazy. But they are also so respectful at the same time. I was so determined to make sure I was on this card.

Jackson last fought in Japan six years ago, defeating Judo specialist Yoon Dong-Sik at PRIDE 31 in February of 2006.

One of a handful of foreign fighters along with Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Dan Henderson and Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic to be adopted as favourites by Japanese fans, Jackson wasnt vague about his desire to fight again in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I must have asked Dana about it a thousand times, said Jackson, who has Japanese children.

I guess he got tired of me asking and put me as the co-main event with Ryan Bader. Honestly, Id have been cool as a prelim guy for this fight just put me on the card!

It was a no-brainer to put Jackson as the co-main event alongside headliners Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson fighting for the lightweight title.

Jackson said when he started his career in Pride in 2001, he was a careless 23-year-old with nothing to lose.

He says he plans to bring that same style with him to the cage for what will be a rare Sunday morning tilt in front of Japanese UFC fans.

Im going to go on the Rampage in Japan. Im going to go back to my old style that and just whup his ass, said the 32-9 Jackson.

Defined by knockout power and massive slams one that finished Ricardo Arona in PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004 Jackson says Bader doesnt stand a chance.

Hes a good fighter he can punch and wrestle like me. But I want to fight like I did in Japan just fight and give the fans a fight they will remember for years like they do my PRIDE days, Jackson said.

Thats all I care about. Im looking to do some slams and my powerbomb, and Im going to be knocking Ryan Bader out!

To commemorate Rampages return to Japan, the UFC has put out a limited edition UFC 144 poster in the style of Japanese Manga movies.

UFC 144 is available in Canada live on pay-per-view Saturday night.

jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @joser403

Blog: www.canoe.ca/scrapyard


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