This Friday night, Bellator 108 is live and free on Spike TV in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The card is stacked with the Featherweight tournament final between Justin Wilcox and Patricio Freire, the Heavyweight Championship bout between Alexander Volkov and Vitaly Minakov, and the main event where Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson makes his Bellator debut against Joey ‘the Mexicutioner’ Beltran. I had the opportunity to sit down with Beltran and discuss the fight with Rampage, his big opportunity in Bellator, his nickname, and much more!
Fighting Rampage Jackson
I am very excited and very optimistic about my chances in this bout. I am excited for all the opportunities that will present themselves after my victory. I am ready to go out and do it. I wish it was Friday already.
How he got the fight against Rampage
I fought [Fabio Maldonado] on a Wednesday, I was released on the following Monday. Immediately after, my management and Eric Del Fierro got to work and were already in negotiations with Bellator. I was all set to sign with them, but I was not going to fight until next season, which was at least February or March. Then I saw Tito pulled out of the fight and I called my manager immediately and said ‘Hey let’s get that fight, ill fight Rampage today’. Thankfully Bellator liked the idea, Rampage liked the idea, and the rest is history. I saw the opportunity and I jumped at it.
How he saw the fight against Fabio Maldonado
I believe I made some mistakes on my weight cut. I did not take the proper tools I needed down to Brazil with me, and it ended up being a lot of last minute type of things. I made the weight fine, but it was detrimental to my performance. I fatigued in the second round, and by losing that round, and not making it a clean sweep, it opened up the doors for the judges to steal the whole thing from me. It was my mistake that I will definitely not do ever again. From now on, I will take everything I need for my system of cutting weight.
Do you think the loss was better for your career now that you have this opportunity?
Ya, without a doubt. Not only the fact that I get to fight Rampage, but Bellator and I are a perfect fit. I think there is a huge opportunity for them to market me and promote me. They like what I bring to the table as a fighter and outside of fighting. My personality and everything else fits perfectly with Bellator. I have never had this type of opportunity with the other organizations I fought for. I am really optimistic for my future in this company. I signed a multi-fight deal, with a tournament definitely in the future. I definitely want to fight in a tournament, and wear that gold. I want to represent this company to the fullest. This is where I am going to be making my new home.
The rollercoaster of emotions
I was definitely upset after the decision against Maldonado. I knew the moment they were reading the cards off and they said it was a split decision, they had jacked me. By the time I left the arena, I knew there was nothing I could do, so I wasn’t too upset, but I felt weird. I have been beaten in fights before. When I fought James Te Huna, I knew that he beat me up and he won the fight fair and square. There was no doubt in my mind I had lost. You still kind of feel bad, but at the same time I performed that night the best that I could, and he was just better than me that night. This fight, I felt I won and they stole it from me, so I was angry. I was able to stay positive and knew something positive would come from this. My wife was keeping me on track and staying positive too, she was saying ‘something good will come from this Joey’, and it did so I am really happy.
I really don’t believe that he has any physical weaknesses per se. I am going to expose his mental weakness. From the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul, I am willing to go through hell for 15 full minutes and I don’t think he is willing to anymore. I don’t think he wants it that bad anymore.
Where his nickname, ‘The Mexicutioner’, originates
When I started fighting, not only was I super-heavyweight, but I had long hair as well. I was a big brown guy with long hair, so a lot of people thought I was Samoan. I was looking for a nickname to represent my Mexican heritage, so a couple ideas were thrown around. Brown Bomber was one of them, but eventually my teammate, Eddie Sanchez, who also has an awesome nickname, the manic Hispanic, came up with the name. He looked at me after practice one day with a twinkle in his eye and said ‘you are the mexicutioner’. It was honestly as simple as that, and I have no idea where he got it from, but it just stuck and people love it.
His current and all time favorite fighter
Josh Barnett is both my current and all time favorite fighter. Nick Diaz comes in at a close second. Josh Barnett is fighting my friend, and longtime teammate Travis Browne. There has always been a good sense of competitiveness between Travis and I, especially since we were both UFC heavyweights at one point and time. We were pushing each other in the gym every day. After that, I will go on record and say this, if he beats Josh Barnett I will buy a Travis Browne t-shirt. That would be a huge accomplishment and I am really excited for him and the opportunity he has on deck. If he beats Josh Barnett, I think a title fight might be next for Travis.
His toughest fight and the hardest puncher he has faced
James Te-Huna was definitely my toughest fight. As for a punch I can remember, it was Matt Mitrione. I don’t really remember Lavar Johnson hitting me, so I can’t say what it felt like! I kind of just went to bed. Mitrione, I remember, he hit me and for a second I was in a tunnel and I could hear cars passing by me and honking their horns, it was crazy. Then all of the sudden, whoosh, I was back in the cage.