Interview with Jaleel Willis above
Jaleel Willis is motivated by fellow Bellator welterweight contender Jason Jackson.
Currently sitting outside the top 10 of the 170-pound division, Willis respects Jackson’s journey to being ranked No. 3. In less than two years, Jackson rattled off four-straight victories in less than two years, including wins over Jordan Mein, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Neiman Gracie.
With Willis being on a five-fight win streak and unbeaten under the Bellator banner, Willis is looking to take a similar path this year. His 2021 campaign starts with a clash against afellow former Legacy Fighting Alliance welterweight champion in Maycon Mendonca at Bellator 259 on May 21.
“I think I got a lot more work to do to solidify myself, so I can be up with names like Jason Jackson,” Willis said.
“I watched his journey and that’s a lot of the reason I’m so motivated to get up and run heels, he needs to check them right now, he works hard all the time, He deserves everything coming his way.”
Jaleel Willis and Jackson took similar paths
Willis and Jackson share similar journeys to Bellator.
Willis made his first promotional appearance with a unanimous decision win against Omar Johnson at Bellator 162 in October 2016. Between his first and second stint with the promotion, the 29-year-old fought five of his eight bouts inside the LFA cage.
He captured the welterweight title with a unanimous decision win over Vinicius de Jesus at LFA 88 last August. In his next appearance, Willis kicked off his second stint with Bellator by defeating Mark Leminger via decision at Bellator 253 in November.
Before Willis, Jackson fought under the LFA banner between his two stints with Bellator. Jackson captured the 170-pound strap with a split decision nod against Hemerson Souza at LFA 71 in December 2019.
Jackson’s second Bellator bout did not go as well as Willis’ did. Jackson dropped a split decision to Ed Ruth at Bellator 231 in…