"The Marine" and Jackson had built a bit of a rivalry growing up on the local Minnesota fight scene and had been looking to square off against each other for the last three years.
Now, tomorrow night, he'll finally have an opportunity to put an end to it against a fighter he doesn't feel even deserves the opportunity to compete against him in the Bellator season eight featherweight tournament.
Richman railed against Jackson during a recent appearance on Bloody Elbow Radio where he discussed his upcoming fight, why he has a rivalry with Jackson and why he wants to "f***ing crush him" in this interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're going to be squaring off against Bellator newcomer Mitch Jackson. Can you tell me what you know about him because we haven't really seen much of him before?
Mike Richman: Well I know a lot about Mitch Jackson. He's from Minnesota, we're both Minnesota guys and he's been for the last year and a half considered the best featherweight out of Minnesota. He's a tough dude, a wrestler, a grinder. I've only personally seen him fight once against a friend of mine and he lost a split decision in that but he's kinda got that grinder/wrestler background. He's kind of in that same position I was before I fought Chris Horodecki. Know one knew who the F Mike Richman was and he's in that same scenario. People in Minnesota know who he is but as far as the national stage or in Bellator, no one knows who he is.
It's his chance to come on the big stage and do it. I've proved myself and I don't want to say there's bad blood but we've been wanting to fight each other for about three years but it hasn't happened due to promoters et cetera. This is a really big fight back home to all the people in Minnesota. The fact that we're gonna do it on this stage for Bellator is pretty sweet. But yeah, he's going down. If he thinks he's just going to wrestle me and grind me out and do what he's done to everyone else, the other dude's he's beaten, he's dead wrong.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Did you have any say in fighting Jackson for the quarterfinals of this tournament because it seems like this is a fight you've been wanting for a while, or did you just get lucky that Bellator's matchmakers came up with this fight on their own?
Mike Richman: Yeah, well as far as I know, he's like the third replacement. I was supposed to fight two different guys and injuries and stuff prevented them. Then my manager shot me an e-mail saying, "You won't believe who you're fighting" and I was like, "Really?"
At first I was actually a bit upset because I wanted my comeback fight to be against a big name like Sandro or somebody. I want to come back hard because in all honesty, in my eyes and in the national eyes, it's a lose-lose fight. I'll get paid but the reality is that other than people in Minnesota, know one knows who Mitch Jackson is. I should fucking beat him but if I lose, it'll be like, "Wow, you lost to HIM?" It's actually the same situation I was in against Chris Horodecki. It's right here, right now.
Matt Bishop: Considering that he's the third guy in line to fight you for this quarterfinal bout, do you not think that Jackson deserves this opportunity?
Mike Richman: No, I don't think he does. We'll find out though, he'll have an opportunity to shut my mouth up I guess. I don't think he does. Man, I think he's gonna come out and try and he thinks he's going to be fighting the Mike Richman from three years ago. He thinks he'll be able to take me down and grind me out and get a decision or maybe even some bullshit guillotine or rear naked choke that he does against all these lower level talent guys.
Look at his freakin' record man. The guys that he trains with, his buddies have been saying the past three or four years, "Oh Mike Richman, he fights cans."
But now I've proved I can beat the top guys. Look at his motha fuckin' record. Look who you fought for your 20th pro fight. Look who you fought? I'm fired up.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You sound as fired up as you did in that press release announcing the tournament bracket. You said something like, "He's not on my level, I'm gonna put him to sleep and the rest of the tournament field is going to sleep." You're definitely animated.
Mike Richman: That wasn't no gimmick line. That's exactly how I feel. I want to fucking crush this dude.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I don't even have to ask you how the fight's gonna play out, you already have your mind made up.
Mike Richman: How it's gonna play out is he's gonna try to shoot on me, try to take me down and try to grind me, maybe he'll even get me down but I'm gonna get right back up, get back in his face and fuckin' beat the piss out of him and put him to sleep.