Quinton Jackson is indeed making his professional boxing debut this summer.
An MMA legend and former UFC light heavyweight champion, “Rampage” takes on ex-WBO heavyweight champ Shannon Briggs in an eight-round boxing match on June 1 in Qatar.
“It’s real,” Jackson confirmed Monday on The MMA Hour.
“I’ve done everything else — I’ve done wrestling, I’ve done jiu-jitsu, and I’ve done kickboxing. I’ve put them all together, but I’ve never done boxing. So now all my four martial arts, I will have done at least one fight in that martial art. So that’s a personal goal of mine, and I’m going to fight until I can’t fight anymore because I still love it, and I want to have a couple more boxing matches before I get too old, right? Because I want to try it. This first one with Shannon, I know he’s a little bit older than me, he might be a better boxer than me because I never boxed before. I’m looking at this like a warmup fight.”
Jackson, 45, and Briggs, 52, have bantered back-and-forth over a potential bout for years, with both fighters trading repeated jabs at the other in interviews and on social media.
Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs) has not competed since knocking out Emilio Zarate in the first round of a May 2016 bout in London. He was subsequently suspended in 2017 after a pre-fight drug test for a WBA title bout revealed dramatically elevated levels of testosterone. The former boxing champ has remained inactive since, but still rides a nine-fight win streak into his grudge match with Jackson, with eight of those wins ending in the first or second round.
Jackson (38-14 MMA) last fought in a first-round knockout loss to Fedor Emelianenko in 2019. Despite falling short in three of his past four MMA bouts, “Rampage” remains one of the greatest light heavyweights of his era, owning wins over Chuck Liddell (x2), Dan Henderson, Kevin Randleman, Lyoto Machida, and Wanderlei Silva (x2), among others. His 2004 slam knockout of Ricardo Arona is one of the most iconic highlights of Pride FC.
“I’ve done a lot of wrestling training camps — man, I think boxing hurts less, hurts the body less,” Jackson said. “But I love fighting. So a lot of fans are very disrespectful and talk about age. Age ain’t nothing but a number. I’m not going to let age stop me from doing anything. Some people are just very disrespectful when it comes to age, and when you get up there in age, you’re not going to want people to be disrespectful to you, right?
“So I feel like if fans really care about fighters, when we get older, just support us, because we’re having fun and we’re doing what we love.”
Jackson said his plan is to use the Briggs fight as a springboard into other big boxing matches before he retires. He specifically mentioned rematches with old foes Rashad Evans and Silva as his most coveted opponents for the squared circle, however he knows those dreams will likely be dead on arrival unless he shows up and performs against Briggs.
“First I’ve got to knock Shannon’s big-mouth ass out,” Jackson said. “I’m going to do everything in power to train my ass off. I already started a mini training camp, but my full camp starts April 1, and I’m going to do everything I can to put my fist in his motherf****** mouth. I’m tired of him talking s***. He underestimated me.
“I was really proud when Francis [Ngannou] showed the world that MMA fighters can box [against Tyson Fury], but I was kind of hoping that Shannon wasn’t really paying attention to it. He kind of said something like, yeah, he underestimated Francis, and that was my plan for him because I knew he was underestimating me the whole time.”
Briggs has already predicted a first-round knockout of Jackson. He has also gleefully posted countless memes and doctored videos at Jackson’s expense.
The MMA legend vows to make Briggs pay for those many slights. And despite how impressive his opponent’s physique may be at an age when few fighters look as Briggs currently does, he’s unconcerned with the ex-champ’s history of drug-testing snafus.
“He needs all the help he can get,” Jackson said. “He’s old as hell. He needs to dye his beard too, I’ll say that, because I don’t want people to think I’m bullying him and get mad at me for senior abuse. Because he looks older than what he is. He’s not that old. He’s only a couple years [older than me], he’s like 52.”
“He thinks he’s going to knock me out in the first round,” Jackson added. “He don’t know. Because he said he’s got the most first-round knockouts in history or some s***. I don’t know. But I’ve been seeing what he’s been posting lately — he’s been posting him knocking out bums. Like guys I’ve never even heard of. The last guy he posted, he looked like he his boxing kit — boy, he got that s*** from like Target or Walmart or some s***. You can just tell he’s fighting chumps by their boxing kits. It looked like it was a last-minute fight and he just went to one of those martial arts stores and just got his boxing shorts right there.”