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Bubba Jenkins ‘disappointed’ next fight is on Bellator prelims, but using it to his advantage

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Bellator MMA

Bubba Jenkins has publicly expressed his displeasure with being on the prelims in his next fight.

The rising featherweight told Ariel Helwani on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour that Bellator initially told him the contender bout against Georgi Karakhanyan would be on the main card of Bellator 160 on Aug. 26 in Anaheim. Plans changed, though, and Jenkins vs. Karakhanyan will be the featured prelim fight on spike.com.

"It was pretty disappointing to hear that it's on the prelims," Jenkins said. "I obviously have friends back home, tons of people who want to throw Bubba J fight parties, so to not have that opportunity kind of was like, ‘Aw man.' I'm excited either way. The results will be the same. The fight is going to go the way I planned it."

Jenkins (11-2) isn't happy about not being on television. But he's using his real-life irritation as a means to pump up the encounter with Karakhanyan and get people to watch. It's a clever little marketing ploy by the former NCAA Division I wrestling standout. Jenkins tore down the fourth wall a bit on The MMA Hour.

"I think it's along the lines of promoting the fight," Jenkins said. "If people want to see me fight or people are making noise about it, they're gonna go to the prelim card on spike.com and check out the fight or look at it on Spike TV regular TV to see if Bellator actually pushed me up. I think I'm promoting the fight like they want me to. I think any publicity is good publicity."

That very well could be the case. And at the end of the day, Jenkins is a company man. He's not upset at Bellator specifically. He actually likes the promotion a great deal. So much so that he plans on staying there when his contract is up after his next two fights.

"My bread is being butter at Bellator," Jenkins said. "It's going down in the BM. I don't mind Bellator and they like me, too. I'm pretty excited with everything that I have going. I want to be at the top of that division in Bellator. I don't see myself leaving any time soon without getting that strap."

Jenkins, 28, has won two in a row coming into the clash with Karakhanyan. He's still one of the most promising 145-pound prospects in the promotion. A victory at Bellator ? would put him closer to a title shot against champion Daniel Straus. Not that Jenkins is thinking about that.

"I don't like to have those cliche answers, but honestly I focus on what I do, because I don't put my trust in man," Jenkins said. "The world didn't give me my peace and the world can't take my peace away. So if I start trusting in man and thinking they're gonna do this or they're gonna say this and they're gonna say that and then they don't, then that starts to distract me from my main goal."

That main goal does still remain the Bellator featherweght title. But first Jenkins has to contend with the very game, Karakhanyan, who beat him by first-round submission when the two fought in 2015.

No matter where the fight will be aired — on TV or the web — it's a massively critical one for Jenkins. And he's taking a unique approach to building it up by calling out the placement.

"I basically wanted to pull some Conor [McGregor] card and get everybody involved on social media to follow me," Jenkins said.