Fighting an opponent three times in combat sports is a fairly rare occurence in today’s landscape. Three fights is usually enough to settle a score or a grudge.
That is not the case for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva, as they will meet for a fourth time at an unnamed Bellator event on Sept. 29 from the SAP Center in San Jose, airing exclusively on DAZN. Silva won their first battle by first-round TKO at Pride Final Conflict in Nov. 2003 and the rematch by second-round knockout at Pride 28 in Oct. 2004.
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In the trilogy bout, a little more than four years later in Dec. 2008 at UFC 92, Jackson won by first-round knockout.
Almost ten years later, they will meet again and Jackson cannot wait to get his hands on Silva.
“I don’t like him,” Jackson told Sporting News. “I hate his guts. He is my biggest rival. I don’t care if I fight him 100 times. I love punching him in the face. I don’t like that he’s a bully. He’s got a big mouth. I don’t like his face because it looks like he’s had plastic surgery.”
Silva (35-13-1, 1 no contest) is considered by some as a legend in the sport: He’s a former Pride two-division world champion, and went on a remarkable streak from Aug. 2000 to Dec. 2004, going 16-0-1 with one no contest. While Jackson says he appreciates Silva’s fighting style, that’s where the respect ends.
“There’s a lot of things I don’t respect about him. When I first fought him, he was undefeated for over four years in Pride. I felt the organization was helping him win fights,” Jackson said. “I remember the first time I fought him, they helped him win because they gave me a yellow card and stood me up when I was grounding and pounding him to win the fight to help him win. I can’t say they haven’t done it before, like help get out of sticky situations, so he can be undefeated for almost five years.”
Considering the animosity Jackson holds towards Silva, one would think he would want to knock him out like he did 8 1/2 years ago. Surprisingly, Jackson (37-13) isn’t of that mindset.
“I just want to punish him and let him know that I’m a better fighter than him,” Jackson said. “When you fight somebody and he’s got two (wins) and I have one, I just want to go out there and fight him, beat him and show him that I’m the better fighter. Those first two fights, it wasn’t my day. I blew him out of the water last time. I want another victory so he knows that I’m better than he is.”
If Jackson can do what he expects to do in three months, the series would be tied at two wins apiece. Would the 40-year-old want a rubber match and settle the rivalry once and for all?
“If I knock him out in September, I’ll fight him a fifth time,” Jackson states. “I don’t care if the fans want to see it. I’ll do it in the alley. I’ll fight him anywhere. I would love to be one up on him, but I would be satisfied to tying up the score. I know its unheard of people to fight five times. I understand that.
“As long as he doesn’t have one up on me, I can sleep and retire with my career knowing I tied it up with my arch nemesis, Wanderlei Silva.”
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. Subscribe to his You Tube channel here. You can email him at email@example.com and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.