Hours before his losing performance against Glover Teixeira (watch highlights here) in the UFC on Fox 6 co-main event last night (Jan. 26, 2013) at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., Quinton Jackson was outwardly confident about his money-making opportunities beyond Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
"It's going to be the UFC's loss and not my loss because I can go to any organization on the planet and have a successful career," he said. "When I leave the UFC I'm just going to move onto the next chapter in my life and try to remain positive and happy...."
Moments after his losing performance to the upstart Brazilian, which marked his third consecutive defeat (Jon Jones, Ryan Bader), "Rampage" -- a 12-fight veteran of the Octagon -- expressed uncertainty about his future, questioning his place among the elite and wondering if he can still hang with the best the sport has to offer.
"I don't know if I can compete with the top people," the former Light Heavyweight champion admitted to FUEL TV correspondent Ariel Helwani on the UFC on FOX 6: "Johnson vs. Dodson" post-fight show. "It's my first time I've lost three fights in a row. I'm not going to give up. I'm going to go back to the drawing board and work on everything. I feel like I can come back if I set my mind to it, but right now if anyone picks me up, that's my marketing pitch -- hey I'll put on a great show for you."
That's probably not what the marketing executives and Reebok want to hear, who endorsed Jackson (read more on that here) prior to his fight on network television, but were unable to reap the rewards of the high-profile exposure because it is not an approved UFC sponsor. And it's unlikely that a blue-chip sponsor is going to throw its marketing muscle behind an aspiring 34-year-old professional boxer who got beat at his own game by the lesser experienced Brazilian.
Especially one who is now thinking about following in the sideshow footsteps of Gary Goodridge, a middle-of-the-road, over-the-hill MMA fighter/kickboxer/boxer who hung on for far too long and now suffers from pugilistic dementia.
"I think that this is my reality and I have to see what's next," he said. "I've been fighting for 13 years and the game has changed a lot. I might just be one of those fighters that come in and excite the crowd -- be like Gary Goodridge. One of those guys who just comes out and puts on a great show. Gary Goodridge is a great ambassador for the sport and he taught me a long time ago that it's all about the show. I'm just going out there and try to entertain the fans. I'll be one of those middle range fighters. If someone wants to pick me up and somebody is going to put on an exciting fight for the fans."
That's certainly not the kind of post-UFC career that one would describe as "successful" or lucrative. Not one that would earn him more than $1 million per appearance, in addition to bonuses and other swanky benefits like top-of-the-line automobiles.
Nonetheless, It is essentially guaranteed Jackson won't be seen fighting in the UFC again, and given his recent comments, perhaps deep down one of the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters of all time knows he can no longer rack up wins against UFC caliber athletes.
Instead, he's now resigned himself to just "putting on good shows" for whoever will have him pay his price.