Former PRIDE superstar and ex-UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will get his wish to compete again in Japan as Jackson has been paired with Ryan Bader for UFC 144 on February 26.

UFC 144 goes down from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Jackson first came to prominence while fighting for PRIDE, including several highlight-reel matches with Wanderlei Silva.

The bout was first revealed by ESPN per a conversation with UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta.

Jackson lost in his quest to dethrone Jon Jones and claim the 205-pound division’s title earlier this year falling victim to a Rear-Naked Choke. Bader, who also lost to “Bones” this year, defeated Jason Brilz at UFC 139 to halt a two-fight losing streak.

It had been rumored that Stephan Bonnar would be the man to face Jackson. Instead, “Rampage” will get an Ultimate Fighter winner in Bader.

The main event of UFC 144 will feature UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar defending his title against Ben Henderson. Jake Shields and Yoshihiro Akiyama are also slated for the card.


MMATraining Take: Jackson and Bader both need strong performances, so expect each man to go all-out with strikes and blows. Jackson has shown that he can struggle against powerful wrestlers like Jones and Rashad Evans, however, Bader has been ineffective against veteran fighters like Tito Ortiz.