After two knee surgeries and some extended family time, Canadian welterweight Jordan (Young Gun) Mein returns to action Friday following a two-year break.
The 30-year-old from Lethbridge, Alta., makes his Bellator debut against Jason (The Ass-Kicking Machine) Jackson in the co-main event of Bellator 242 behind closed doors at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Bantamweights Ricky Bandejas (13-3-0) and Sergio Pettis (19-5-0) meet in the main event of Bellator’s first show since Feb. 22.
“I feel lucky just to be able to compete in a time like this and to get an opportunity like this,” Mein said from his hotel room while awaiting results of his pre-fight COVID-19 test. “It feels good.”
Mein (31-12-0) last fought July 28, 2018, when he won a decision over Alex (The Great White) Moreno in Calgary, improving his UFC record to 5-4-0 with his second straight win after a run of three losses.
Two surgeries followed. He had a torn meniscus repaired but his return to training seven weeks later proved to be too soon. His meniscus tore again requiring another operation.
The Moreno fight was the last on his UFC deal so he took time to review his options before signing with Bellator.
The 29-year-old Jackson, a graduate of Season 21 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” previously held 170-pound titles in the Victory FC, Titan FC and Legacy Fighting Alliance promotions.
“A tough opponent,” said Mein (pronounced mee-INN). “He’s from a wicked camp.”
The Jamaican-born Jackson (11-4-0) trains at Hard Knocks 365 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., under former world kickboxing champion Henri Hooft. He has won four of his last five outings.
Mein, whose resume also includes three fights in Strikeforce, says his knee is fully recovered.
“One hundred per cent. The body feels awesome.”
Mein, who started fighting as a pro in 2006 at age 16, retired in 2015 but returned to action in December 2016.
He stepped away from the sport in the wake of a loss to Thiago (Pitbull) Alves, a fight that saw him batter the American-based Brazilian veteran in the first round before being laid low by a body kick in the second.
Prior to that, he won a performance-of-the-night bonus in a 72-second stoppage of Mike (Quicksand) Pyle. Mein also has victories over Josh (The People’s Warrior) Burkman, Joe (Diesel) Riggs, Dan Miller and Marius Zaromskis among others.
An exciting mixed martial artist who can mix a ground game with exciting striking, Mein is happy bringing the fight to his opponents. Forward is the direction he knows best.
Mein has no issues with the UFC, saying he was treated well there.
“I just got another opportunity really and took it,” he said.
He savours the chance to fight, given most of the sport is on hiatus.
“At my Dad’s gym in Lethbridge, these guys are just itching to fight and there’s nothing local going on,” he said. “I feel really lucky that I get to travel internationally and do this.”
Mein trains at Canadian Martial Arts Centre often with three-year-old daughter Olivia in tow. His father Lee Mein, a chiselled 53, still fights and will be in Jordan’s corner Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2020.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press