Damon Jackson (22-5-1 MMA, 5-3-1 UFC) will look to get back into the winner’s circle when he meets Billy Quarantillo (17-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who finds himself in the same circumstances heading into their UFC Nashville featherweight bout.
“This is definitely a tough fight just because he’s a guy who comes back, it seems like, every second and third round,” Jackson told MMASucka. “I’ve been training for 15 full minutes of him coming forward and being relentless. It’s definitely a tough fight, but I see myself coming out on top for sure.”
While Jackson is preparing for 15 minutes against a high-pace foe, he still is predicting he’ll finish Quarantillo.
“It won’t go all three.”
Jackson said he would like to sap some of Quarantillo’s energy with clinch work and takedowns. He harkened back to his old nickname.
“Yeah, my nickname, ‘The Leech,’ has been for reasons like that where I definitely hold onto people good, I ride well on top,” Jackson said. “I definitely would like to pull some wrestling in this fight that I haven’t gotten to use in a while just because I wasn’t healed up. I’m feeling great and back to my high school days where I’m doing crazy amounts of pull-ups and doing all the old-school stuff I haven’t done in years. It’s been nice to kind of take a step back and work with a lot beginners at my gym. It’s been really good for my technique.”
Jackson took time off after his last fight to open and develop Fortis MMA Lakeside in Rockwall, Texas.
Jackson had a four-fight winning streak snapped when he lost to Dan Ige in January. The win streak succeeded a loss to Ilia Topuria, who may very well be next in line to face Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title.
Jackson’s wins during the stretch came over surging prospect Pat Sabatini, the then-undefeated Daniel Argueta, Kamuela Kirk and Charles Rosa.
“Losing fights are always rough,” Jackson said. “I haven’t lost to anyone who wasn’t really good. If I was really messing up and losing to guys I should be beating, then it’s one of those things where I would hold it over my head a little harder. I’ve learned over the years you can only think about it for so long. You’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Quarantillo, Jackson said, is a different type of fighter compared to Topuria and Ige.
“I wouldn’t say skill-wise, he’s better than either one of those guys. But he’s a guy who will kind of haunt you if you let it go to the judges or the second and third rounds. It’s a fight that I’m not taking lightly. But I think Ilia is definitely the next guy who’s going to be a real challenge for Volk. Dan Ige, he’s been in there with a lot of guys. That fight camp, I was not 100%. I don’t want to make any excuses for that, because he’s a beast, too, but I would love to have that fight again now that I’m all healed up and feeling great.”
After the Ige loss, Jackson got his own gym running and spent the summer with his kids.
“So that was nice. Now I’m recharged and ready to go.”
To prepare against someone like Quarantillo, Jackson has been putting more emphasis on his cardio, which he prides himself on.
“I know that he’s got that in his back pocket, and I want to make sure I’m ready to go for those [last] two rounds, because I know he will be. I’m trying not to make it a dogfight. You don’t want to be that guy who goes out there and gets Fight of the Night. You want to go out there and get Performance of the Night. You don’t want to go out there and slug it out for three rounds. But if that’s what it takes to get a win, then I’ll take it.”
UFC Nashville is set to go down on Aug. 5 from the Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee.
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