Jackson told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he’s interested in a fight with Silva next in Bellator. “Rampage” is coming off a close unanimous decision loss to Chael Sonnen in the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament first round last month.
“I owe Wanderlei another ass whooping, I’ll tell you that,” Jackson said. “I know he’s not a heavyweight. The last time I fought him I knocked him out of the weight class. But he beat me twice. I only beat him once. I think I owe him another ass whooping.”
The rivalry between Jackson and Silva, two of the most exciting fighters of their era, goes back to 2003. Silva knocked “Rampage” out with knees in the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix final. A year later, the two had a rematch and Silva won again via those vicious knees in a bout for the Pride middleweight title.
Jackson, 39, got a measure of revenge at UFC 92, knocking Silva out with a left hook in December 2008.
The main obstacle in the way of the two legends fighting again 10 years later is division. Jackson has fought at heavyweight his last three fights and weighed in at a hefty 253 against Sonnen. Silva has split time between middleweight and light heavyweight. “Rampage” is non-committal about going back down to light heavyweight — that would be a drop of 50 pounds or more for him at this point.
“I probably could get down to 205, but I don’t know,” Jackson said. “I’m walking around at 250, 260. That’s a big one.”
“Rampage” initially went up to heavyweight due to a thyroid issue, but said that is getting better. He wouldn’t rule out the possibility of trying it. Silva is the fight he’d like, though.
“If I had my way,” Jackson said. “But like I said, Wanderlei is not a heavyweight. I probably could get down to 205 now that I’ve got my nutritionist.
Silva, 41, is, like Jackson, coming off a loss to Sonnen. Silva fell to Sonnen by unanimous decision at Bellator NYC last June. That was his comeback fight after four years away following a doping suspension in Nevada.
Despite the loss to Sonnen, “Rampage” said he has been renewed and is working harder and smarter in the gym than he has in years. Even though he’s out of the grand prix, which will crowd a Bellator heavyweight champion, Jackson said he expects to challenge for the belt after the conclusion of the tournament.
“My motivation is still the heavyweight belt,” Jackson said. “Even if I’m out of the tournament, whoever wins that belt I’m gonna challenge him right away.”