42-year-old mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Wanderlei Silva returns to the cage tonight (Sat. September 29, 2018). He’ll fight former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The pair last fought one another almost 10 years ago at UFC 92. That fight resulted in a knockout win for Jackson.
Speaking to Combate ahead of Bellator 206 tonight, Silva revealed his true motivation behind rematching Jackson. It’s not the desire to avenge his knockout defeat to Rampage, but a $1 million payday offered by Bellator President Scott Coker (via MMA Mania):
“I was offered one million dollars,” said Silva. “Scott [Coker] called me up and said ‘I’ll give you a million dollars to fight Rampage’. I was like ‘I’m not doing anything anyway’. I’m already training again and I feel good. I’m going to do this fight and then I might fight again in December.”
Despite Silva losing to Jackson 10 years ago, that wasn’t the first time the pair played punch face. Jackson and Silva have matched-up three times before meeting tonight at Bellator 206. Silva defeated Jackson via knockout twice under the Pride banner.
Silva has admitted that money is his driving motivator this time around, but remains confident he has what it takes to prevent Jackson from tying their series:
“You can expect a great Wanderlei,” Silva said. “I feel well, training is going well. I’m more experience, I’m fighting more intelligently and aggressively. I think it’s going to be a great fight.
“He better train, because I’m sharp and I’m going for the knockout. I don’t know if he’ll be man enough to accept a striking match against me. I hope so. If he does, we’ll have a great fight.”
What do you make of Silva’s claimed mega-payday?