Welterweight Jason Jackson anchors the Bellator 255 co-main event this Friday night, taking on submission threat Neiman Gracie. The fight could potentially see a new title challenger emerge, although Jackson admitted that now that Bellator has official rankings, he’s a little puzzled as to where he sits.
“To me, personally, I haven’t lost to Ed Ruth. I haven’t lost since I came to Bellator,” Jackson said during a virtual media day on Wednesday. Jackson, an Ultimate Fighter and Contenders Series alum, has just one loss in Bellator, a 2019 split decision to Ruth. “The rankings kind of confused me. I’m kind of confused myself by the rankings,” he continued, not understanding how he dropped to the #6 spot in the newly unveiled official rankings after the promotion originally had him ranked in the top five. “I’ve just got to fight. I’ve got a big opportunity to fight the number three guy, which I consider number one. And once I beat him, then there’s no more question.”
A title shot is “absolutely” next after that, in his opinion, though if Bellator doesn’t feel that way, Jackson will fight, he added. Later, he’d expand on what he expects moving forward. “I’m the guy that Bellator has to keep their eye on in this division. I’m gonna be the next welterweight champion, this year.”
But how does Jackson feel his grappling matches up with Neiman Gracie, who of course flies the flag for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu? “The same way his striking matches up with mine.”
Jackson would predict simply that “I’m gonna knock Gracie out. He don’t think my hands are dangerous? Watch. He don’t got no stand-up.”
Of course, Gracie is a member of the legendary Gracie family, who put Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the map. Royce Gracie may be best known to fight fans after winning the early UFC tournaments, but it’s Neiman who is leading the charge for the family these days.
The Brazilian’s black belt status isn’t worrying Jason Jackson however. “When I made my professional debut as far as fighting in the local scene, Neiman Gracie was probably a blue belt, purple belt,” he said. “So I have experience on my side. I’ve fought plenty of black belts.”
Watch the full Bellator 255 virtual media day scrum with Jason Jackson above. Bellator 255 takes place Friday, April 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The card airs live on Showtime, and will be available in its entirety right here on Cageside Press.