Quinton "Rampage" Jackson takes on Jon "Bones" Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight title at UFC 135 on Sept. 24, live from the Pepsi Center in Denver. "I've been out in Denver for eight weeks," says Jackson, "pretty much all camp."
STACK had a chance to talk to "Rampage" about how he's preparing for UFC 135, what aspects of his diet have changed, and why Gears of War 3 is such a big part of his pre-fight routine.
STACK: How has the altitude affected your training?
Quinton Jackson: I do everything I do at sea level, but here it's harder. When I first started, I couldn't finish three one-minute rounds. Now I can do five seven-minute rounds. I do a lot of wrestling, a lot of sparring, a lot of pads, a lot of jiu jitsu, a lot of kickboxing. I do a lot of what I’ll be doing in the fight.
STACK: In terms of motivation, what do you think about as you train? Are you focused on your legacy in the sport at all?
QJ: Honestly, I’m just focused on this fight. I just think about winning this workout. I don’t even think about my opponent. I just think about giving my all so I can be good in the fight.
STACK: How does "winning each workout" help your performance?
QJ: It helps your performance tremendously. If you give 110 percent in everything that you do leading up to your goal, then all you know how to do is give 110 percent. That’s my mentality.
STACK: Can you talk a little bit about your diet?
QJ: I’ve always worked with a nutritionist, because it’s no secret that sometimes in between fights I blow up, but I basically fixed that problem by hiring a cook. I train at the MusclePharm gym. These guys know nutrition. We tweaked [my diet] for the foods that I like. Everything’s been going great with the food; I eat all different types of stuff. It’s mostly all organic and very clean.
STACK: What have you eliminated from your diet?
QJ: I’ve eliminated dairy. My friend Julia Budd [Rampage’s nutritionist], she asked me to try not eating dairy for my last camp. I tried it and I liked it, so I continue to do it. I still eat dairy sometimes. I’ll eat pizza, but my cook knows how to make healthy pizza.
STACK: But that’s only once in a while, right?
QJ: Right. But the bad thing I learned? Salt. As soon as I eat some salt, that blows me right up. You can see it in my face. Whenever I cheat, during the week when I’m not supposed to or something like that, my manager catches me, because my face blows up. I see it in the mirror, he can show me. It’s the salt. It doesn’t put that much weight on you, but you get bloated. It looks really bad.
STACK: What’s a typical day’s worth of meals for you?
QJ: Eating is the worst part of training camp. I hate it. I’m a very picky eater. It’s just plain food. That’s the worst part about being an athlete.
My favorite part about camp is playing video games. After I get done training, I go and play video games. The guys at Microsoft gave me a copy of Gears 3, and they let me get it early. And man, I just got addicted to it.
Every time I get a break from training, everybody already knows what I’m going to be doing. I’m in my room playing Gears of War. As soon as I get off the phone with you, I’m going to go play. I’m trying to hurry up this interview, honestly.