Following her elimination from The Ultimate Fighter 23 in March of 2016, flyweight Kate Jackson had waited to return to action for nearly a year before finally making her comeback.
Since returning to fighting, Jackson has picked up two TKO wins in her two bouts in 2017, first against Bryony Tyrell at British Challenge 18 in March, and then against Colleen Schneider in August at Bellator 182.
“My first one was against probably the best strawweight in the country, and somebody I had trained with as well (in Tyrell),” Jackson told MMAWeekly.com. “I knew I had the edge on the ground, and that’s where most of the fight took place. There was a little top control and ground ‘n’ pound, and the ref stopped it in the third round.
“(Against Schneider) I noticed quite a size difference. It was a lot of work for that fight, getting inside, and dealing with the way she fights. I wanted to stand with her. I fell back on my kicks quite a lot and it paid off. It wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to go. But I went in there and got the job done.”
Having fought both at flyweight and strawweight this year, Jackson is willing to do either, but her decision at what weight to compete at will come on a case by case basis.
“Within Europe I seem to stack up quite well at flyweight,” said Jackson. “I’ve never particularly been at a size or strength disadvantage. I think Colleen was one of the biggest flyweights I’ve come across. I do know there are others who cut down from 150 pounds, which for me isn’t ideal. It’s a toss-up really.
Jackson (9-2-1) will look to cap off an undefeated 2017 when she takes on Valerie Letourneau (8-6) in a 125-pound co-main event of Bellator 191 in Newcastle, England, on Friday.
“It’s not like (Letourneau) was ever a huge bantamweight, and she has never made strawweight, so I think we’ll be closer in size, which is good,” Jackson said. “It’ll be a fast-paced fight. She pressures a lot. I think, I hope, and I plan for it to bring out the best in me.
“She doesn’t have any problem with being punched in the face, and I’ll be happy to oblige that. I’ll stand with her. I’ve worked on my hands a lot the last 18 months. But if the option needs to take it to the ground, then I’ll go to the ground. I’m comfortable there and I feel I have the edge on the ground.”
After her run in TUF, Jackson hasn’t really put much thought into where she wants to take things in the future, but for now she’s signed to a multi-fight contract with Bellator and will move forward with the promotion in 2018.
“I haven’t really considered the next step, which sounds crazy,” said Jackson. “You can’t look past a fight. I want to get this one out of the way and evaluate from there. I’ll fight in the flyweight division of Bellator as long as they want me here.”