During tonight's UFC Fight Night 58 broadcast, the UFC announced the return of former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson after a two year absence.
Since leaving the UFC, Jackson went 3-0 in Bellator MMA, including a win over "King" Mo Lawal. Jackson was slated to be the company's number one light heavyweight contender following the win, but refused to fight champion and friend Emanuel Newton.
Shortly after the announcement, Bellator President Scott Coker tweeted "Let us be clear that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is under an exclusive contract with Bellator MMA. We will protect our contractual rights."
In a statement issued to UFC.com, Rampage said "It hasn't really hit me, but it sounds like most people are happy for me to come back. I feel like I can put on some exciting fights. I don't feel like there are a whole lot of people out there putting it on the line the way I do."
Jackson also said "I left, got my knees fixed and healed up and I got excited about fighting and it showed in my training camps. I don't feel like I was fighting the same caliber of guys that was in the UFC, but at the same time my training camps went a lot smoother and made me more excited about being a fighter." Rampage singled out Rashad Evans, Jon Jones and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua as opponents he hopes to fight.
Rampage's ill will with the company seemed to begin when Viacom relieved Bellator MMA founder Bjorn Rebney of his duties in favor of Coker. Jackson has continually voiced his support of Rebney before and since the move.
With a pending class-action lawsuit accusing the UFC of creating an unfair marketplace, it remains to be seen how this will play into that situation.