Bubba Jenkins hasn’t needed animosity, manufactured or otherwise, to fuel him during his still-burgeoning MMA career.
Until now, that is.
Jordan Parsons wasn’t even on the former NCAA national champion wrestler’s radar until Parsons instigated a social media confrontation prior to Jenkins’ loss to Georgi Karakhanyan at Bellator 132 this past January.
“He told me I don’t have a ground game, and he said that I’m a pretender and I really don’t want to fight. That I’m not in the game to fight. Which just sounds stupid to me,” Jenkins told Sherdog.com. “That doesn’t make any sense. How does a wrestler not have a ground game? That’s like saying a jiu-jitsu guy doesn’t have any submissions or a kickboxer doesn’t throw kicks. You sound stupid.”
Criticize Parsons’ approach if you must, but it seems to have worked, as the featherweights will square off in a featured clash at Bellator 146 at Winstar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., on Friday night. The evening’s main card airs on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
Once the prized prospect, the 27-year-old Jenkins has now acquired tenure in Bellator MMA, posting a 6-2 record within the California-based promotion. “The Highlight Kid” is still looking for his signature win, but he isn’t convinced that Parsons will add much luster to his resume at this point in time.
“I’m looking at the top guys. He wasn’t on my radar at all because he’s not on anyone’s radar. He wasn’t even on the same continent that I was on as far as the Bellator spectrum and the featherweight title goes,” Jenkins said. “Obviously when I’m aiming toward the top I don’t look who’s underneath me. As far as Jordan Parsons goes, I didn’t think twice about him until he opened his mouth, which is a problem.”
The 25-year-old Parsons is based at the Blackzilians camp and has won his first two fights in Bellator, including a third-round submission of the previously unbeaten Julio Cesar Neves Jr. on May 15. Prior to signing with Scott Coker’s organization, Parsons captured a title in the Florida-based Championship Fighting Alliance.
“Because Bellator likes him and he’s got a good record --he beat that 30-0 guy -- I see it being a good win for me. As far as personally, I don’t think he’s that good,” Jenkins said. “I’m just gonna go beat him up and hurt him and prove to him that he just wasn’t ready yet... He opened his mouth to the wrong person. You bang on my door at 2 in the morning, I’m gonna be out in the street ready to beat you up.”
This type of emotion is new for Jenkins, who said he has “liked and respected most of my opponents” in MMA. He doesn’t expect to be thrown off track by those feelings, however. Instead, he is counting on his spat with Parsons to take him to a higher level.
“If people knew my history of how I’ve competed, usually when people doubt me or get me pissed off is when I train best,” he said. “When I want to hurt the guy, demoralize him and humiliate him, that’s when I’m at my best. When I respect the guy and don’t have anything against him, then I just do OK.
“I’m looking to win, but when I’m looking to dominate, to hurt, to destroy, that’s when I’m most dangerous. He doesn’t really understand that he stepped on the dragon’s tail and I’m going to burn his ass.”