Nobody could ever deny that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a world-class fighter with the potential to be a Hall of Famer. However, over the last few years, his attitude and antics have proven to vilify the fighter to the point that he has definitely fallen from the graces of MMA fans.

Jackson is nearing the end of his UFC days and he appears to be ending his six-year, soon-to-be 12-fight stint with the world’s biggest MMA promotion on a sour note. The biggest question is, what now?

Jackson began his 42-fight professional MMA career in 1999. Prior to his pro debut, Rampage competed as a high school wrestler, had a small junior college wrestling career, and intended to go into professional wrestling, before deciding to compete in MMA.

In his 13 years of pro MMA competition, Rampage has managed to rack up a 32-10 record, most of which has taken place on the biggest stages between his 11 years of combined action in the UFC and Pride promotions. Performing at such a high level not only generated a huge fan base for the veteran fighter, but it also earned him fights against the best of the best. Rampage has faced top competitors and Hall of Famers, including Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida and the Rua brothers, in addition to his long-standing rivalry with Wanderlei Silva.

Rampage has fought in many title fights with the most notable being his UFC light heavyweight championship, which he won with a surprise first-round knockout of then-champ Chuck Liddell. In the next fight after securing the title, Jackson went on to defeat Dan Henderson by unanimous decision to unify the UFC light heavyweight and Pride middleweight titles. However, the glory didn’t last long.

In his next fight, on July 5, 2008, Jackson lost his UFC title to Forrest Griffin, and then things began to get weird.

The following year, Rampage engaged in a series of incidents involving harassment of female reporters. While some thought his antics were funny, in reality they were extremely offensive to women, not to mention immature and, potentially, criminally-punishable offenses.

Also in 2009, Rampage began to complain about how he was being treated by the UFC, and he announced he would be done fighting, which he reneged on less than three months later. In the last four-and-a-half years, with all of his complaining and inappropriate behavior, the longtime vet has managed to rack up a 4-4 record against the toughest competitors in his career.

Oddly enough, around the same time that Jackson started complaining about the UFC and harassing reporters, he was cast to be in the movie The A-Team, which was eventually released in 2010. The movie turned out to be a huge hit and Rampage put on a great performance as B.A. Baracus, who was played by Mr. T in the 80s television series that made the franchise so popular.

Did stardom go to his head?

Some people tend to think so. It seemed that the perfect storm of losing his title and being offered his first starring movie role caused Rampage’s head to swell and also caused him to lose respect for MMA and all things associated with it. In addition to everything else, he had Twitter moments where he lashed out at fans, and he has also became very confrontational in the majority of his interviews.

In Feb. 2012, upon his return to Saitama, Japan for the first time since his Pride days, Rampage, who acted like Japan was where he belonged and was “honored” to return, committed the ultimate disrespect for the game when he weighed in heavy for his fight against Ryan Bader. He eventually lost the fight by decision after being completely outclassed by Bader. He also forfeited 20 percent of his purse for coming in over the contracted weight.

After his loss to Bader, Rampage again announced his retirement from MMA, after, of course, he fights the last fight on his UFC contract. He was supposed to take on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but pulled out to have knee surgery. He was then supposed to fight the much-feared Glover Teixeira, but pulled out due to an injury. However, that didn’t get Jackson off the hook with Teixeira, as he is again set to fight the Brazilian at UFC on Fox 6 on Saturday night in Chicago.

So, after tomorrow night, where does Rampage go next?

Assuming he fights, which is now looking like something of a problem, due to backlash against an instructional rape video on YouTube that he participated in last year in an effort to get kicked out of the UFC, Rampage will most likely get destroyed by Teixeira, ending his UFC career on a three-fight losing streak.

Rampage really has three options at this point.

Obviously, troubled or not, the fighter is still a big name in MMA, and could easily go to a smaller promotion and do quite well. If he’s looking for easy money, that would be a good place for him. He would still be fighting, no longer under the UFC banner he despises so much, and he would be facing lesser competition, which seems to be what his ego needs. However, if he lost to a no-name fighter, one can most certainly expect him to quit that promotion too.

The second option would be to pursue a movie career, which is probably a bigger stretch than he thinks. While The A-Team was fairly well received in the box office, DVD and Blu-Ray sales have lagged, and while the actors originally expressed an interest in a sequel, a couple of them have now commented that the movie wasn’t good enough for a second installment, which is not good news for Rampage. Other than that, his acting ability is fairly narrow, and all he has done is some work that is considered B-level at best.

Rampage’s final option is to get out of both MMA and acting, and just focus on bringing income in through appearances and name recognition. Honestly, before he does any more damage to his image, this is probably his best option. Since he doesn’t seem to feel that he owes anything back to the MMA community from a coaching perspective, and has pretty much been abrasive to anybody in the industry that questions him, he should capitalize on what clout he has left. He had a great, storied career, but that doesn’t last forever. He’s made plenty of money, and at the age of 34, he has plenty of life ahead of him.

Rampage has had a great life in MMA with the most damage done to his image being self-induced. Who knows how he’ll react after Teixeira picks him apart, but one can assume it won’t be anything to bolster his public image.

When Rampage is done wreaking havoc in the MMA world, it will be time to hang the gloves up. He had his run, he’s clearly not interested anymore, and the best thing he could do is preserve what dignity he has left and call it a day. There is enough recognition and street credit left for him to ride the gravy train and enjoy the early retirement that most people wish they could afford.

Photo: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (James Law/Heavy MMA)