Rampage Jackson is back under the Bellator banner, with no plans to leave again any time soon.
Jackson, one of the great MMA light heavyweights, was embroiled in legal wrangling that saw him fight once for UFC in April 2015 before he was free to return to Bellator, where he had enjoyed an undefeated three-fight run in 2013-14.
Jackson (36-11) marks his return on Friday night against Satoshi Ishii (14-5-1) in the main event of “Bellator: Dynamite 2” on Spike.
“I’m going to step into the cage and beat the ... out of this (opponent),” Jackson said.
While Jackson’s comments about Ishii — an Olympic gold medalist in Judo at the 2008 games in Beijing — aren’t necessarily for the PG crowd, the 38-year-old Jackson said he feels as strong as he has in years headed into the card in St. Louis. While Jackson has competed at 205 pounds for a majority of his nearly 17-year career, his bout against Ishii will take place at a catchweight of 215 pounds.
“I haven’t been 100 percent in any fight I can remember, but I’ve been pretty damn close,” Jackson said. “If this guy saw a Rampage that’s close to 100 percent, I guarantee you he wouldn’t last a minute.”
In 2007, Jackson unified the UFC and Pride 205-pound titles with a unanimous decision over Dan Henderson. In his next UFC fight, he lost his crown to Forrest Griffin. He also served as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Outside the cage, Jackson is most known for playing B.A. Baracus in the film version of “The A-Team.”
Jackson eventually signed with Bellator before an ugly contract dispute saw him return to UFC for a unanimous decision victory over Fabio Maldonado at UFC 186.
Jackson’s return to the UFC was initially put on hold after Bellator won an injunction arguing that Jackson still had three fights left on his six-fight contract. The Jackson camp contended the contract was void because Bellator had failed to live up to its promises.
Jackson settled his disputes with Bellator and returned to the MMA promotion, now led by president Scott Coker.
“The promotion has a new promoter and I’m happy to be back,” Jackson said. “The other promoter wasn’t (good).”