Originally Posted by H0SS
I wouldn't say he was as unknown as you make him out to be.
Couture/Liddell III only drew 400k.
Liddell/Sobral drew 500k.
Liddell/Ortiz II 1,050,000 Liddell/Jackson II 675k
Liddell Evans 480K
Rampage's UFC debut fight (along with CroCop's) on the Anderson Silva/Travis Lutter main card drew 400k, which fell right in line with other PPV numbers around its time.
Whether it was due to UFC marketing, Pride fans, or both, the casual UFC fans didn't treat Rampage like a "relative unknown". Source
That was actually something Page said himself which makes sense when you think about casual UFC fans who aren't likely to watch fights that happen in other orgs. This is the same reason why guys like Fedor, Overeem were also unknowns (for casuals). Obviously the hardcore fans knew everything about these guys.
To them both Page and Silva came in as unknowns fighting their heros. Noone (amongst casuals) really expected Silva to beat Leben not even some fighters (Koscheck comes to mind).
Also very few casuals expected Rampage to beat Liddel in the UFC. I still remember how the crowd reacted. It went something like OMG WTF just happened (like when Silva beat Griffin).
Amongst the casuals its my belief that neither Silva or Rampage Jackson were suppose to win there respective UFC debuts. The only logical reason for the write offs imo was due to a lack of knowledge (ie they didn't know who the fug these guys were).
I would love to have seen the fighter polls on who fans thought would win.