Although there were some fight fans that thought ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would go back to the UFC, he is sticking with Bellator MMA.
The promotion announced earlier this month that “Rampage” has signed a brand-new, exclusive multi-fight deal with them. His recent run with the UFC was a lone UFC fight against Fabio Maldonado back in April 2015. This was supposed to be part of a new deal to allow Jackson to return to the Octagon. Jackson declared himself a free agent after claiming that Bellator failed to honor certain clauses, but he eventually settled it and went back to Bellator.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion will turn 40-years-old next June. Despite his advancing aging, Jackson believes that there are a few more battles to come for him.
Now, Jackson will return to the cage in the first round of the Bellator heavyweight tournament. Other names that will be featured in the tournament include Fedor Emelianenko, Ryan Bader, “King Mo” Lawal, Roy Nelson, Frank Mir, Matt Mitrione and Chael Sonnen. The single-elimination tournament is expected to kick off on Jan. 20 in Inglewood, Calif.
Although Bellator has yet to announce first-round opponent, he made it clear that he doesn’t want to fight former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen.
Jackson’s last fight saw him suffer a decision loss to “King Mo” Lawal in March. Jackson doesn’t sound too intrigued by fighting another wrestler.
“I told my manager that I’m not looking forward to fight Chael Sonnen,” Jackson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I just fought a leg-humping wrestler. Why would I want to fight another fighter who is strictly known for wrestling?”
It doesn’t sound like anything personal against Sonnen, but Jackson wants an opponent who is going to stand and bang.
“Why would Bellator want to me against another wrestler right off the bat?” Jackson said. “Honestly, I would say that wouldn’t be a matchup I’d be looking forward to, and I would be upset coming into the Bellator contract fresh off the bat and them giving me a wrestler to be honest. Who wants to see me fight another wrestler, why wouldn’t a promoter have a guy like me who loves to stand and bang and have exciting fights, why would a promoter constantly want to keep putting me with wrestlers?”
Jackson also doesn’t want to fight MMA Legend Fedor Emelianenko but he has different reasons for his standpoint regarding that fight.
“Fedor is my favorite fighter of all time,” Jackson said. “Fedor is my favorite fighter, so that would be an awkward matchup if i had to fight him, fighting your favorite fighter of all-time. A tournament is a tournament. I would never sign a deal where I had to fight Fedor unless I was being paid like $10 million. For $10 million, I’ll fight my mama. If it’s a tournament, that’s the only way.”
Jackson is under a three-fight deal with Bellator MMA and he’s just glad to get back to action.
“I think Scott [Coker] is a great promoter,” Jackson said. “Like I said, I had no problems, no issues with the UFC, I think the UFC has done great things for the sport and everything, and you know, I’m just going to keep it there. I like it over in Bellator. I like the energy. I like it.”
“I didn’t even know about the damn tournament to be honest, until I re-signed my agreement,” Jackson said. “Then I see all over the damn media about the damn tournament, and I’m like aww f*ck, here we go with this s*it. But I don’t care. I’m a fighter. I used to like fighting in the [PRIDE] Grand Prix. I don’t care about tournaments and s*it. I’m just saying. I’m not looking forward to fighting Chael Sonnen in the first round of the damn tournament. I’ll fight anybody. My job is to fight. But you know, I want a fight that I’m going to be excited about.”