That ruling cleared the way for “Rampage” to return to Saturday’s co-main event slot opposite Fabio Maldonado in a 215-pound catch-weight bout. The card, which takes place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, had already lost numerous bouts due to a variety of circumstances.
“These things happen sometimes in the business,” UFC President Dana White said during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter, “but I’m glad it got resolved.”
Jackson didn’t leave the UFC under the best of circumstances, but his relationship with Bellator soured after the promotion failed to fulfill all the stipulations of his contract. The Pride Fighting Championships veteran claimed he terminated the deal, and he re-signed with the Las Vegas-based promotion in December.
White is all too familiar with the various mood swings of the ex-light heavyweight champion.
“He’s a unique individual to deal with, and he felt that he wasn’t happy here [in the UFC] anymore and obviously we wouldn’t ever be in a situation where a guy wasn’t happy fighting here. If you’re not happy here, then go somewhere that’ll make you happy,” White said.
“Then he wasn’t happy there [in Bellator]. He thought he was happier with us. It wasn’t like we wanted Rampage to leave in the first place. He said he wasn’t happy.”
Now 36 years old, Jackson will make his Octagon return riding a three-fight winning streak. However, he still has plenty to prove after leaving the UFC on a lackluster note in 2013. Even if he is no longer the fighter he was in his heyday, White believes Jackson still brings plenty of appeal.
“The thing that Rampage always brings is intensity. He comes in and he tries to finish you, and I love that about him,” White said. “He’s taking on Maldonado, another guy who is a finisher and loves to stand, loves to trade toe to toe and those are always really fun fights.
“He isn’t always the most personable person when you meet him, but he comes to fight. If you’re a fight fan, and you love guys who love to stand up, love to trade, Rampage is fun to watch.”