Aside from the 5 seconds of mega-slam, Rampage Jackson didn’t look very Rampagey at UFC 144 against Ryan Bader. What was the deal? This isn’t the first time he’s looked flat and unresponsive. But this time he has an excuse:

“I almost didn’t make it to the fight, but I didn’t want to pull out for the Japanese fans,” Jackson said. “I injured my knee pretty bad, and my doctor told me not to fight. But it wasn’t real serious. I didn’t need surgery or nothing, but he told me it wasn’t a good idea to fight. I decided to fight anyway.”

“I re-injured the knee when Bader slammed me,” Jackson said. “It was one of those things. I was worried about it. Before the slam, I wasn’t doing a really good job. I was worried about it, and I had to lose a lot of weight since I couldn’t really run and stuff. It was downhill from there.

“I hurt my knee, and I just wanted to put on an exciting fight, and I was just happy to make it here and try and put on a show for the Japanese fans.”

At this point I think most fans are all like “Why U No Punch People Hard in the Face, Rampage???” Knee-injured or not, Quinton has gone from an aggressive sh*tkicker to a passive boxer who likes to counterstrike. That passivity has nearly cost him in fights against Keith Jardine and Matt Hamill, and now he has a loss against the gatekeeper-level Bader. Jackson says he still wants to fight, but sometimes in the cage it doesn’t really look like it. Where’s the old Rampage? Oh, 2003, you say? That was a pretty long time ago.

(oh, it’s more Esther Lin photos, this time from her UFC 144 gallery)