Shortly after Rampage Jackson bids a bitter farewell to the UFC on Saturday night, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Dodson will introduce themselves to the country.
Chicago's United Center will be a crossroads for several fighters getting together in the UFC's latest show on Fox.
Johnson's first title defense against Dodson is the main event, but the 125-pounders realize they could be upstaged by bigger guys. Jackson is making what he says is his final UFC appearance against Brazil's feared Glover Teixeira, while crowd-pleasing lightweight contenders Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis meet on the televised undercard.
All eyes are likely to be on Jackson (32-9), who is fed up with the UFC after six years with mixed martial arts' dominant promotion.
The 34-year-old former light heavyweight champion still is among the UFC's biggest stars, even after delaying his fighting career while shooting for Hollywood celebrity in the film version of The A-Team. The temperamental bruiser also threatened retirement three years ago, and he has sparred with UFC President Dana White repeatedly in recent years.
After tangling with Teixeira (19-2), who hasn't lost in 17 straight fights since March 2005, Jackson says he'll likely move on to a smaller-time promotion, or even a boxing career.
I plan on being still involved in MMA, Jackson said. I just want to get this last UFC fight out of the way and then enjoy myself as a free agent and see who's interested in me.
I think that the UFC doesn't know how to treat their athletes. I feel like we do a lot for this sport, and I just feel like we're just not taken care of well enough. I feel like they're getting rich off all of us. ... I don't want to be a part of this sport like this. It's just bad. I don't want to be a part. I want to go somewhere where they take care of their fighters and they treat us like human beings. I'm telling you I've been fighting for a long time, and I'm standing up for myself.