Quinton Jackson is a longtime friend and fan of Fedor Emelianenko, having competed alongside “The Last Emperor” for PRIDE Fighting Championship more than a decade ago, even having the privilege of calling some of the Russian’s most memorable fights.
That’s why Jackson is conflicted about facing Emelianenko under the Bellator MMA banner this weekend when “Rampage” makes his return to Japan. Plus, it doesn’t help that his opponent is 43 years-old and coming off a first-round knockout loss to Ryan Bader.
“It’s been kind of hard for me to mentally prepare and get ready for this fight,” Jackson told reporters ahead of this weekend’s action. “You guys know how I like to knock people out, my team’s like, ‘Oh, you got to knock him out, you got to knock him out,’ and me being a big fan of Fedor, I’m thinking that’s the last thing he needs is to get knocked out right away and stuff like that, but none of that matters because when I get in that cage, ‘Rampage’ don’t have no friends. I don’t even like that motherfucker. Nobody likes ‘Rampage,’ ‘Rampage’ don’t like nobody, so it don’t matter.”
Jackson (38-13), who turned 41 back in June, has not competed since his technical knockout win over Wanderlei Silva at Bellator 206 back in Sept. 2016. Prior to that, “Rampage” dropped back-to-back decisions to longtime wrestlers Chael Sonnen and Muhammed Lawal.
Both Jackson and Emelianenko have nearly 100 fights between them and a combined 40 years in mixed martial arts (MMA), but one of the main criticisms heading into their heavyweight affair is their age and of course, previous damage incurred, which is why Emelianenko is on his “retirement tour.”