The co-main event of Bellator 242 is certainly deserving of its spot on the card.
This matchup was originally slated to happen back in May before the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But now that the time has finally arrived for Mein, 30, to make his much-anticipated Bellator MMA debut, his father and coach, Lee, said Mein’s excitement level is sky-high.
“He’s excited. He’s grateful for the opportunity to compete, he’s grateful for the support of local sponsors, and he’s just itching to get in there and have fun,” said Lee in an interview with MMA Empire.
“He’s been having fun training every day. He’s training two or three times a day, putting the work in.”
For Jackson, 29, this will be his third appearance inside the Bellator MMA cage, after making his debut back in October, an opportunity he earned after capturing the LFA welterweight title three months prior.
When it comes to facing Mein, Jackson said he views this as an opportunity to make a big statement regarding his place in the welterweight division.
“I think this, right here, will show I’m a title contender, title-worthy, and worth promoting and marketing,” said Jackson in an interview with MMA Empire.
“This is definitely going to show I’m worthy.”
Mein expects another tough test in Jackson
Having spent over five years being in Mein’s corner while he was competing in the UFC, Lee and his son have seen the highest level and most versatile of skill-sets in the game.
With Jackson being the opponent Mein was scheduled to face back in May, Lee said they’ve become familiar with what he brings to the table, and are expecting a well-rounded challenge.
“He looks good and he’s athletic. He trains with Henri Hooft, so that’s a good striking gym with good wrestling people,” said Lee.
“He’s a good all-around fighter. He’s got submission wins and knockout wins. Jordan’s always looking for the toughest opponent out there and the chance to get that experience, so it should be a fun fight.”
Mein’s tenure with the UFC finished with him riding a two-fight winning streak, most recently a unanimous decision win over Alex Morono back in July 2018 at UFC Calgary.
Lee said their relationship with the UFC ended on good terms, and Mein wasn’t cut from the roster. He said it was a matter of Mein wanting to be more active.
“After his last win, he took some time off because his mom passed away and he was waiting to have knee surgery. When he was healthy and ready to get back into training and fighting, we went and talked to the UFC and they had so many guys looking to fight that they couldn’t guarantee him a fight anytime soon,” said Lee.
“Then, he asked if he could be released so he could fight somewhere else because he didn’t want to wait. He left on good terms, no ill will or anything. He just wanted to fight, and they didn’t know if they had anything for him.”
Jackson’s activity could be significant
While it’s been nearly two years since Mein’s last fight, Jackson has remained active in that same timeframe, competing five times in that span.
Although he’s not counting on Mein’s layoff having a big impact on his performance, Jackson said how active he’s been in the time Mein’s been away from the cage could play a small factor.
“We’ll find out in the fight how big it is, but I’m not underestimating him,” said Jackson.
“I’ve been active, which has to say something. I haven’t been fighting any bums either in these five fights, so it has to play a part.”
Jackson’s last outing was a unanimous decision victory over Kiichi Kunimoto at Bellator 236 in December, which also marked his first win inside the Bellator MMA cage.
With that fight being on short notice, Jackson said coming away with the victory showed him he was it takes to succeed, no matter what the situation is.
“I only had about six days notice for that fight, so I just had to do my best, use what I have, and make it work,” said Jackson.
“That’s something I learned from that last one; whatever you have, you can make it work, and still be better than a lot of people’s best.”
“I’d love to thank my coaches (Henri Hooft, Bill McKnight, Sean Soriano, Adam), my family, God, Bellator MMA, my management (Randall, Dave Martin), all my sponsors (American Ethanol, Sanford MMA)” Follow Jackson on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM
Follow Mein on social media: INSTAGRAM