Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is back in the U.S. after a trip across the pond to the U.K., where he's set up shop at the Wolfslair gym alongside teammates Paul Kelly and Michael Bisping.
Jackson's commute is hard on his family life, so he lavishes attention on his four children when he returns.
"My dad was a working man. He was in the National Guard, be gone for two weeks at a time," Jackson said in an exclusive video interview with MMAWeekly.com. "My big boys understand; my two little babies, they don't know. They just know, 'daddy gone, pow, pow.'"
Jackson immediately took a liking to the Wolfslair when Bisping invited him there to train for his fight with Dan Henderson at UFC 75. Jackson successfully defended his title, but lost it in a subsequent five-round war with Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. After leaving former trainer Juanito Ibarra, he felt a move across the pond was necessary.
"The managers and stuff over there are really good, and it's just really a good atmosphere," he said. "The guys work really hard. I needed a change in my training and how people trained me. I'm a Werewolf, and the name of the gym is the Wolfslair. You do the math."
Wolfslair trainers have Jackson doing things he's never done for a fight.
"I'm swimming now," he said. "It's helping my cardio get a lot better. I've started lifting weights. What do you call it, strength and conditioning."
Change seems to be the only constant in Jackson's life. Only three months ago, he was riding high with a UFC belt, soaking in the perks of the position. After the Griffin loss, his world seemed to take a seismic shift; a breakup from Ibarra, a high-profile brush with the law, and training relocation to a foreign land came in rapid succession. In the middle of all this, he was offered a fight at UFC 92 with Wanderlei Silva, a man who not only beat him, but beat him badly on two separate occasions.
Heady times for anyone; let alone a person in the spotlight. Jackson says his age has made him a wiser man, and more capable against a monster like Silva.
"I think this fight will be different because I think I'm more mature now," he said. "I'm a lot older, got a lot more experience. I fought Wanderlei both times when I was a kid, I feel like I was a kid in this sport. I got a little bit better skills now. I won't have to fight Chuck Liddell first, and this time there won't be so much pressure. We're not fighting for any championship, we're just going out there and fighting for money."
Jackson will certainly know if his life changes have made him a better fighter when he steps into the Octagon with Silva in December. But first and foremost, he wants his fans to know that he won't be distracted by the whirlwind around him.
"I've got the best people around me. I'm a child of God," he said. "Ain't nothing distracting me, homie. Trust me."