Even if Tito Ortiz gets a clean bill of health and is cleared to fight, Quinton Jackson is “over” the idea of competing against the fellow ex-UFC light heavyweight champion.
“I’m not interested in fighting Tito anymore,” “Rampage” told MMAjunkie.com. “No interest. There’s a couple reasons why, but I’m not interested. I’m over it.”
Jackson (32-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Ortiz (16-11-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) were scheduled to face each other at Bellator MMA’s inaugural pay-per-view event, Bellator 106, on Nov. 2, but when Ortiz suffered a neck injury just days before, the contest was scrapped.
It’s believed Ortiz’s fractured neck will keep him sidelined until at least 2014, which means the organization was forced to move Jackson to another card against a new opponent.
“I was pretty upset,” Jackson said of Ortiz’s withdrawal from the fight. “You train for somebody, and you look forward to fighting them.”
With Ortiz’s rampant injury woes, Jackson said he has no desire to risk signing for a fight that probably wouldn’t happen. Or even worse, if it did happen, he doesn’t want to be the one to cause any permanent damage.
When the match originally was signed, officials played up the fact that Jackson and Ortiz were former training partners. Both fighters said they had days where one would get the better of the other in the training room, and Jackson’s motivation was to determine the better man once and for all.
“The only reason I was even interested in fighting Tito was because Tito and I used to be training partners and I always wanted to know if I would beat him or not,” Jackson said. “That’s what I was getting out of fighting Tito, not because he’s a big name.”
With the Ortiz matchup apparently off the table for good, Jackson has turned his focus to other competitors in Bellator’s light heavyweight division.
While the likes of Attila Vegh, Emanuel Newton and “King” Mo Lawal seem like the most logical opponents for Jackson’s future, there is one big-name fighter who just entered free agency who could potentially serve as a future foe: Dan Henderson.
Henderson could re-sign with the UFC following his knockout loss to Vitor Belfort this past weekend, but he’s now lost three straight, and the 43-year-old is nowhere near a title shot. Still, he’s a fighter with name value who could be a beneficial signing for Bellator.
Unfortunately, after already defeating “Hendo” under the UFC banner in 2007, Jackson said he couldn’t have less interest in a rematch with the former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion.
“Why would I be interested in having a rematch with Dan Henderson?” Jackson said. “I already beat him; I beat him for the unified titles. I beat him for the PRIDE title. He has no titles now. He sucks.”
In the meantime, Jackson has another opponent lined up: Joey Beltran (14-9 MMA, 1-0 BMMA). They meet Friday at Bellator 108. The event takes place at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey, and the main card airs on Spike TV following Spike.com prelims.
Beltran’s name doesn’t carry the same weight as Ortiz’s, but at the end of the day, Jackson isn’t focused on his opponent; he’s focused on delivering a memorable performance for fans.
“I like to entertain people,” Jackson said. “That’s what I do, and I think that me destroying Beltran will be an entertaining fight.”
For the latest on Bellator 108, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.