Quinton Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell 1
Pride: "Final Conflict 2003"
Nov. 9, 2003
Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
At this moment in time, Pride FC -- not Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) -- was the leading mixed martial arts promotion. A reality that infuriated the always-passionate UFC President Dana White. White was so determined to prove that the UFC was better than Pride that he sent his best fighter, Chuck Liddell, to compete in a grueling 205-pound tournament. He also made a $250,000 side bet with his Pride counterpart, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, that "Iceman" would defeat Pride's poster boy, Wanderlei Silva, in the tournament final. The gauntlet was laid down. The table was set. But then someone went and invited Rampage Jackson, who spoiled the entire party. Liddell and Jackson met in the semifinals. The winner would go onto meet "The Axe Murderer" in the final grand prix match. Well, Liddell apparently "didn't follow the gameplan," while Jackson beat him from pillar to post for nearly 10 minutes. The beating was so bad that Liddell's corner threw in the towel to end the violence in the second round. White would have to wait four long years before he could get Liddell and Silva locked inside a cage together. Jackson would go onto lose to Silva via brutal knockout later that same night.
Quinton Jackson vs. Ricardo Arona
Pride: "Critical Countdown 2004"
June 20, 2004
Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan
Still reeling from the brutal (and embarrassing) loss to Wanderlei Silva, Jackson was out for blood. A comeback win over Hirotaka Yokoi wasn't good enough. He needed more. So when he was booked to battle another Brazilian, Ricardo Arona, his road to redemption had officially been set in motion. Arona was undefeated in Pride FC competition and the only loss on an otherwise perfect record was to none other than Fedor Emelianenko. Jackson got in trouble midway through the first round, getting trapped in the guard of the dangerous submission specialist. Arona appeared to actually have the fight won, locking in a tight triangle choke. But Jackson would not be denied. In a tremendous show of strength and power, he scooped up Arona -- who was still latched around his throat -- and slammed him violently to the canvas. It was so forceful that Arona was knocked out on contact. It was a career-defining moment for Jackson. One that is still featured on highlight reel after highlight reel to this day. This "power bomb" stands the test of time.
Quinton Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell 2
UFC 71: "Liddell vs. Jackson"
May 26, 2007
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
Dana White admitted that Zuffa purchased World Fighting Alliance (WFA) for one reason and one reason only: Quinton Jackson. He knew that a rematch with Chuck Liddell would not only be a pivotal divisional showdown, but would likely also do big business. After a tune up win over Marvin Eastman, Jackson was booked to rematch the seemingly invincible light heavyweight champion three months later. He proved that his first win was no fluke, making quick work of Liddell with a first round technical knockout finish. He was crowned champion, ending Liddell's reign of terror and marking the beginning of the end for the UFC Hall of Fame fighter, who would go onto lose four of his next five fights before retiring.
Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson
UFC 75: "Champion vs. Champion"
Sept. 8, 2007
O2 Arena in London, England
Never before had there been a true "undisputed" champion between rival UFC and Pride FC promotions. That would all change when Zuffa purchased the Japanese outfit and set up an instant unification bout between Jackson and the last man to hold the Pride 205-pound title, Dan Henderson. It was a tough, back-and-forth five-round fight that Jackson would ultimately end up winning. Jackson demonstrated vast improvements in his overall game, slinging leather with the heavy-handed puncher and scrambling right along with the Olympic-level wrestler. He proved, too, that he had the endurance to go a full 25 minutes without any major issues. Rampage Jackson, the raw, tough kid from Memphis, Tenn., had evolved into a true mixed martial artist.
Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva 3
UFC 92: "The Ultimate 2008"
Dec. 27, 2008
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
Silva had viciously thrashed Jackson in two previous fights, sending him crashing through the ropes in an unconscious heap with killer Muay Thai knees. There was really no need for a third match because the two previous ended so brilliantly ... and violently. But Jackson argued that things would be different. He had real training partners this time. And the "corrupt" Japanese referees weren't conspiring against him to give Silva the edge. It took just one thundering left hook to prove his point. He hit the Brazilian so hard that he was out cold before he hit the canvas. Just how revenge is meant to be served.