Bellator MMA finally has a plan in place to fill its vacant heavyweight throne. Throughout 2018, the organization will promote a heavyweight grand prix featuring eight of its premier heavyweights and light heavyweights in Frank Mir, Fedor Emelianenko, Matt Mitrione, Roy Nelson, Ryan Bader, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Chael Sonnen.
Speaking on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Rampage discussed his role in this tournament, and immediately divulged that he’s rather unexcited about the prospect of a fight with wrestling specialist Chael Sonnen. The former UFC light heavyweight champ, after all, has always taken issue with opponents who focus on the takedown.
“I told my manager that I’m not looking forward to fight Chael Sonnen,” Rampage said (transcribed by Dave Doyle for MMAFighting). “I just fought a leg-humping wrestler. Why would I want to fight another fighter who is strictly known for wrestling?”
“Why would Bellator want to me against another wrestler right off the bat?” he continued. “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?”
Rampage also admitted he’s not thrilled about the possibility of fighting Emelianenko – albeit for different reasons.
“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.”
Whatever happens, though, Rampage understands its his job to his fight. He intends to do that job regardless of his opponent.
“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.”
Who do you think Rampage Jackson should fight in the first round?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 14/11/2017.