A classic MMA rivalry might be reprised in 2018.
Bellator president Scott Coker told MMA Fighting on Thursday that the promotions attempting to put together a bout between Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva. The two have fought three times previously and have had bad blood with each other going back well over a decade.
“That’s something that we’re talking to ‘Rampage’ about and talking to Wanderlei about,” Coker said. “I would love to make that fight before the end of the year.”
Jackson said on The MMA Hour in February that he wanted his next bout to be with Silva. Silva responded with a condition — he would want the fight to be in his native Brazil.
That is very much on the table, Coker said.
“We are working on the possibility of executing that fight down there,” Coker said.
If it happens, it would mark Bellator’s first visit to Brazil.
“Rampage” and Silva first fought at Pride Final Conflict 2003 in Japan, with Silva winning by first-round TKO to capture the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Silva won the rematch a year later in 2004 with a second-round knockout of Jackson at Pride 28 to win the Pride middleweight title.
In 2008, Jackson got a measure of revenge at UFC 92, knocking out Silva in the first round.
“I owe Wanderlei another ass whooping, I’ll tell you that,” Jackson said in February. “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.”
“Rampage,” 39, has fought his last three bouts at heavyweight after spending his entire career to that point at 205 pounds. Jackson is coming off a loss to Chael Sonnen in the first round of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix.
Silva, 41, also had his last loss against Sonnen, at Bellator NYC in June 2017. He has fought most of his career at light heavyweight and middleweight. So if this bout were to happen, Jackson would likely have to come down in weight a bit.
Coker said that it is imperative for Bellator to put together a title rematch between lightweight champion Brent Primus and former champ Michael Chandler as soon as possible. Primus won the belt from Chandler last year when Chandler’s leg was injured in the first round.
Chandler has won two straight since then, while Primus has not fought and is currently dealing with an injury. Coker said he’s hoping for the rematch to take place sometime in August or September.
“We need to make that fight happen as soon as Primus is healthy,” Coker said. … “We just now started engaging in conversations with Dave [Martin], [Chandler’s] manager, about timeframe. But we’ll put it together.”
With Bobby Lashley moving over from Impact Wrestling to WWE, his MMA career seems indefinitely on hold.
Lashley (15-2) fought five times under the Bellator banner from 2014 to 2016 with his Impact contract having the provision that he could compete in MMA. It was always going to be different if the 41-year-old moved back to WWE, Coker said.
“Bobby is back in the WWE,” Coker said. “The way we had our relationship was if he decided to go back to pro wrestling with WWE that we wouldn’t stand in his way. I actually feel good about it. I told him, I said, ‘Bobby you have so much potential in MMA, but I get it.’
“I see him in the pictures with his armband and everything, I go, it just feels right and it just looks right. Like, this is where he should be.”