Defeating Quinton Jackson is certainly no easy proposition, but Joey Beltran would not have it any other way.
On Friday night, Beltran will lock horns with “Rampage” in the main event of Bellator 108 from Revel in Atlantic City, N.J. Though Beltran has been pegged as more than a 2-1 underdog against the former UFC champion, he believes that his well-documented determination will fuel him to victory against his hard-hitting foe.
“There is no question that ‘Rampage’ has a phenomenal chin. He’s gone against some of the heaviest hitters in our sport. [Very few] have been able to knock him out, but I do believe that if I land [a strike] flush on any man in the world that they are going to go to sleep,” Beltran recently told Sherdog.com. “That being said, I’m prepared to go through absolute hell for 15 minutes, and I don’t think he is, and that’s how I’m going to beat him.”
Beltran was released by the UFC just days after suffering a split decision loss to Fabio Maldonado at UFC Fight Night 29 last month. Though the news was immediately discouraging, “The Mexicutioner” nevertheless kept a positive attitude and soon thereafter signed with Bellator, planning to debut in the Viacom-owned promotion next year. However, an injury to Tito Ortiz derailed his planned Nov. 2 pay-per-view headliner with Jackson, and Beltran jumped at the opportunity to fill the void.
“Bellator liked the fight, and “Rampage” liked the fight, and I got the fight. It all happened pretty fast,” said Beltran. “I got what I asked for. I was the one who pushed for this fight. At first, it was a shot in the dark. I really didn’t think that I would get it, but the next day, my manager texted me and told me not to go crazy on the food and the booze, because we might get this fight. I’ve been truly blessed with this opportunity. It’s like the old saying goes: Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. Now it’s time to go out and deliver.”
Despite his Oct. 9 clash with Maldonado going down as his sixth loss in his last nine fights, Beltran believes his UFC Fight Night 29 defeat will benefit him when he meets Jackson on Friday night.
“It’s almost like a warm-up. Unfortunately, the warm-up didn’t go how I wanted it to,” Beltran said. “I didn’t know that fight was going to lead to this. I just try to always keep a positive mindset. After I lost that fight, I just thought, ‘I don’t f---ing deserve this.’ Something has to happen. I just believed something good was going to come, and here I am fighting ‘Rampage.’”
Though Beltran is by no means looking past Jackson, the light heavyweight said he is eager to participate in a Bellator tournament down the road.
“I love the tournament format,” Beltran said. “I heal fast. Black eyes don’t last on me very long. Cuts and bruises have never really been an issue. That’s my mutant power. I can take punishment and heal fast. I’m like Wolverine.”