Quinton Jackson knew he’d be fighting in March. He just didn’t think Muhammed Lawal would be his opponent.
“Rampage” told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he was gearing up to fight Mirko Cro Cop under the Bellator banner next month. But Cro Cop ended up retiring in January, after winning the Rizin openweight grand prix.
Now, Jackson will rematch “King Mo” at Bellator 175 on March 31 in Rosemont, Ill. “Rampage” would have preferred the other matchup and he thinks spectators would have as well.
“I think that would have been a better fight for the fans,” Jackson said. “I think Cro Cop would have been a more exciting fight. ‘King Mo’ is just gonna try to get my legs pregnant.”
Jackson (37-11) beat Lawal the first time around by unanimous decision in 2014. It was not the most exciting fight, though, despite a fun, insult-filled build-up between the two men. Lawal’s wrestling-heavy style has drawn criticism from “Rampage.” Meanwhile, “King Mo” believes he should have won the fight by decision, disagreeing with the judges’ call. All but one MMA media member on the site MMADecisions.com scored the bout for Lawal.
Jackson, 38, admits to not being all that excited for another fight, even though he asked for a rematch in the cage immediately after the first bout. “Rampage” has said it wasn’t a successful outing for him, because he didn’t win by KO.
“I wanted to knock him out,” Jackson said. “It’s whatever. I’m just so over it. I don’t think there’s a lot of people for me to fight over there in Bellator.”
It still bothers “Rampage” even three years later that “King Mo” believes he won the fight. The two got into a back-and-forth argument about it during a press conference after Bellator 170 last month in Los Angeles.
“The thing that really f*cks me up is that he thinks he won the last fight,” Jackson said. … “How did you win that fight? He never hurt me at all. When he took me down, he laid on top of me and I got up.”
If there’s one thing that Jackson does regret it’s asking for the rematch right away.
“I shouldn’t have asked for a rematch,” he said. “I watched it again and It was a boring-ass fight and I don’t like to do boring fights. But since it’s my last fight on Bellator, I’m gonna have to do what it takes to win.”
Jackson’s contact with Bellator expires after this fight and he told Helwani that he believes he has to then honor a contract he signed with the UFC in late 2014. “Rampage” said he terminated his Bellator contract then and ended up fighting in the UFC in 2015, but Bellator sued him and the two sides eventually settled.
Jackson returned to Bellator last year, beating Satoshi Ishii by split decision last June. Lawal beat Ishii back in December by unanimous decision, but then fell to Cro Cop by second-round TKO in the quarterfinals of the Rizin grand prix.
The coming fight between Jackson and Lawal will be contested at heavyweight. Jackson said he doesn’t want to cut to light heavyweight any longer. Lawal made fun of him for his weight at the post-Bellator 170 press conference and “Rampage” said it “hit home,” because he knew he was heavier at the time than normal.
Jackson is over that now, though, perhaps in the same way he’s over the thought of a Lawal rematch.
“I train hard when it’s time for me to train hard,” Jackson said. “He can talk about my weight all he wants. I don’t give a f*ck about that shit.”