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Fabio Maldonado hopes to fight Rampage Jackson at UFC 186 despite Bellator’s lawsuit

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Bellator is trying to stop Quinton Jackson from fighting Fabio Maldonado at UFC 186, but the Brazilian brawler is hoping it fails.

Bellator announced on Monday that they have filed a lawsuit in the Chancery Division of the Superior Court in Burlington County, N.J., demanding that Jackson completes the three fights left on his six-fight deal with the promotion.

After leaving the UFC in 2013, the former champion went 3-0 under the Bellator banner with wins over Joey Beltran, Christian M’Pumbu and Muhammed Lawal.

"Today, Bellator MMA was compelled to go to court to stop Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson from fighting in an April 25th bout promoted by Bellator's competitor, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)," read Bellator’s statement. "Jackson, who has completed only three fights of his exclusive six-fight contract with Bellator, is barred by contract from fighting for any promoter other than Bellator. Our lawsuit for an injunction and related relief - filed in the Chancery Division of the Superior Court in Burlington County, New Jersey - will compel Jackson to honor his contractual agreement.   We look forward to having one of our MMA stars fighting for Bellator again."

Unbeaten in the past four light heavyweight fights in the Octagon, Maldonado hopes that the UFC can keep this fight together. Coming off a second-round TKO over Hans Stringer at UFC 179, which earned him a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus, Maldonado won’t stop training for Jackson, but welcomes any other opponent if "Rampage" isn’t available.

"I hope I can fight Rampage," Maldonado told MMAFighting.com. "I see things happening through the media, but I’ll continue training to evolve and fight whoever they put in front of me. I’m evolving in boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, everything. I just want to evolve. I’m not paying attention to this lawsuit. I don’t have anything to do with that.

"I don’t know if they’re going to change my opponent or not. I don’t know," he added. "I’ll keep training. I want to fight Rampage, but I don’t pick my opponent. I can fight whoever they want."

Maldonado’s manager Alex Davis is confident that his athlete will enter the cage to face the former UFC 205-pound champion at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, on April 25.

"It looks like we won’t have any problems," Davis said. "I asked Joe Silva about this situation between ‘Rampage’ and Bellator, and he said that they are not expecting any problems, and that he will tell me if anything happens."

If they actually fight at UFC 186, Maldonado expects "Rampage" to stand and trade punches with him.

"I hope he stands and fights me," Maldonado said. "I’m training with Mikey Roady again. I trained with him in 2003, the first time I came to the United States, and it was great, but it’s even better now. Boxing is my best weapon, and I plan on winning this fight standing."

Maldonado moved his UFC 186 camp to American Top Team in Florida, where he trains with a handful of UFC and Bellator stars.

"My camp at ATT is great," he said. "They have a lot of great athletes here and the gym is amazing. I train with Steve Mocco, who I believe beat Cain Velasquez 10 times in wrestling, I train with ‘King Mo’ Lawal, Marcos Rogerio de Lima, ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Antonio Carlos Junior, Roy Nelson. My camp couldn’t be better. I should have come to American Top Team years ago."

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