Jackson made his name during the heyday of PRIDE, using his trademark slams to capture the imagination of local Japanese MMA fans. Immediately after losing a light heavyweight title fight to Jon Jones in September, Jackson began campaigning for a spot on the card, and only secured his co-main event bout with Ryan Bader after raising hell with the UFC office.
Jackson explained his reasoning for wanting a spot on the UFC Japan card during a press conference on Monday morning in Tokyo.
“Back when I was fighting here, I had so much energy. I just wanted to put on a good show for the fans because all the energy they give. In America, you’re under so much pressure to win at all costs because the fans talk s**t to you if you lose even if it’s a good, exciting fight. In Japan, it’s just a different energy. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take more chances and not care because it’s all about the crowd. I react to the crowd. I don’t care about the people watching on TV.”
Jackson also took the time to compare his current fighting style to the one that made him famous in PRIDE.
“In Japan, I used to slam a lot and put on show because the energy from the fans gave me power and I don’t feel the same energy in the US. So, I can’t honestly say I improved or evolved in a good way since leaving Japan. I’m all about putting on an exciting fight in Japan. One thing I love about Japanese fans and why I love them the most is that they don’t care if you win or lose. All they care is if you have samurai spirit, that you put on a good fight. That’s why Japanese fans are my favorite. And American fans are jealous that I say that all the time.”