“Rampage” is back in the spotlight. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Quinton Jackson is embracing his role as short-notice pay-per-view headliner.
In fact, according to Jackson, he was initially surprised to find that this upcoming showdown with Muhammed Lawal would precede Eddie Alvarez’s rubber match with Michael Chandler.
“To be honest, when I signed, I just assumed I was the main event in the first place, because the fight was going down in my hometown,” Jackson recently told Sherdog.com during a radio appearance on “Beatdown” with TJ DeSantis and Jeff Sherwood. “I think I learned later that I wasn’t the main event, but it didn’t change anything for me.”
After Alvarez withdrew from the headliner due to injury, Jackson and Lawal were promoted to the main event, and Chandler will now instead face Will Brooks this Saturday at Bellator 120.
The lightweight champion’s withdrawal marked the second time that Bellator was forced to deal with a pay-per-view main event falling apart, as the organization abandoned its original pay-to-watch plan last November after Tito Ortiz was forced out of a fight with Jackson. However, the Viacom-owned promotion has stuck to its guns this time around, and the show will move forward as its debut pay-per-view in spite of Alvarez’s injury.
The event takes place at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss., a venue which stands just 14 miles south of Jackson’s hometown of Memphis, Tenn. This fact has not been lost on “Rampage,” who believes his clash with Lawal -- another Tennessee-raised talent -- should provide fans with a compelling reason to purchase the card.
“My fight alone is going to be worth the pay-per-view. This is one of the few grudge matches going on right now in MMA where [the fighters] honestly don’t like each other,” said Jackson. “I’m going to put on an exciting fight, and I’m going to be coming at him the second the bell rings. I’m going to show Memphis that I’m the baddest fighter out of Memphis. I want the world to know. I’m going to be on him like white on rice, and that’s something that you haven’t seen me do in a long time. I’m going to dictate this whole pace. I have a statement to make, and I think that’s worth it, right there.”
To prepare for his Season 10 tournament final opposite Lawal, Jackson said he has taken better care of his body than ever before.
“‘King Mo’ has most definitely motivated me to put in extra work, but I’ve been taking care of my body. Since I got those injections in my knees -- that was 75 percent of the problem. I couldn’t train hard because of my knees,” said Jackson. “I came into MMA with a knee injury, and I’ve been protecting my knee my whole career and keeping it hush-hush. It was no secret I’ve had elbow problems. I’ve just been icing and taking care my body and doing the things that I was too stupid to do when I was younger. My body feels good, and I can go.”
In addition to his focus on allowing his joints to recuperate properly, Jackson has also paid specific attention to what he is putting into his body -- a move that he believes will put him in top form come fight night.
“I’ve hired a nutritionist, which is not cheap. She stays at my house five days a week, and she makes me take my supplements,” said Jackson. “Throughout my whole career, I really never took supplements. When I was doing it on my own, I’d do it like two days a week and then forget, because I hate taking all those pills, but she watches me take them and drink the water, and that’s been helping me stay healthier.”