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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

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Inside MMA’s recent gym feature series with Greg Jackson

By Zach Arnold | September 21, 2010

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Inside MMA has recently been doing a series of features on various MMA gyms across the country. This segment was taped before Keith Jardine’s fight with Trevor Prangley at Shark Fights 13. It’s a very interesting interview.

(Transcript can be seen in full-page mode.)

On a side note, the web site Sathint currently indicates that you can view HDNet and HDNet Movies on a satellite using a FTA (free-to-air) set-up if you point your dish to AMC 16 at 85W. I don’t know if it’s both video and audio or audio only, but the unencrypted signal is Ku and not C-band so it’s easy to pick up (if you are into that kind of thing).

RON KRUCK: “Greg, when did you open the doors to Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts?”

GREG JACKSON: “Uh, we first opened the door in 1992, so it’s been… at least four years since that happened. No, it was a long time ago, it’s been a lot of fun so far but we started in ’92 and haven’t looked back.”

RON KRUCK: “When you look at this place, was this the goal all along to have this training facility with the gym, with the cage, with the ring, with all this and so many incredible fighters, was that the goal?”

GREG JACKSON: “No, it was never really the goal. I thought that I would be teaching out of a shack somewhere, very happily, because when I started you know the sport wasn’t big and when I started I didn’t want to be a coach. I got talked into being a coach. I just wanted to do martial arts my whole life and teach and help people. The rest of it is by accident, basically, I got talked into doing competitions for some reason we started winning everything and more and more people came and kind of here I am today. But the way I thought it was going to go down is I would have a very small school, I would teach a lot of you know interesting people but I never thought that I’d have this training facility or be considered any kind of good at what I did as far as having all these great fighters.”

RON KRUCK: “You’ve assembled an incredible roster of fighters here at Jackson’s. Can you tell us some of the guys who train here on a full-time basis?”

GREG JACKSON: “You know, honestly, there are so many of them that if I started naming names, I would forget and then they’d get upset with me and beat me up. So, let’s just say, there’s a lot of ’em and I love ’em all. We have a lot of fighters that we try to rotate through our different locations and just kind of get a lot of different looks and constantly improve their skills, so…”

RON KRUCK: “Greg, you mentioned other gyms. You have some relationships with other training centers. Tell us who they are and describe that relationship for us.”

GREG JACKSON: “Uh, well, we have us here. In Colorado, we have Grudge who’s run by Trevor Wittman, just an amazing trainer, such a great guy. A lot of our fighters are there. We have in Montreal we have Firas Zahabi, who’s another amazing, amazing trainer and everybody at Tri-Star up there, Zahabi MMA if you will. And then in New York we have Phil Nurse who’s just a genius striking instructor as well and then we have an alliance with Renzo Gracie so we’re lucky to have access to all that knowledge as well so we just kind of rotate them through. You never want to have everybody in just one place. First of all, there’s too many people to be in one place and second, there’s so many great coaches, they’re all better coaches than I am so all these guys can give so much knowledge and there’s different sparring partners and so when you have a system like that, what I call decentralized training, when you have a structure where you have that as a premise, then you really can grow. You don’t stagnate. There’s always new information, always new knowledge coming in, I think that’s really important.”

RON KRUCK: “Speaking with Trevor up at Grudge, he said the same thing that it’s such a benefit for the fighters to bounce back and forth from the different training centers to just glean some of the knowledge from local guys and different fighters.”

GREG JACKSON: “Absolutely and like I said those coaches, I mean we’re so lucky to have these amazing coaches all under one roof. Everybody has a really unique coaching style and they really bring something different to the table and I learn just as a normal guy like when I go to Trevor and I’m watching him work, I’m like, oh, I learned something new. When I watch Phil Nurse, I’m like oh there’s something new. Firas will show me something new, it’s just amazing. I really learn a lot just myself. So the fighters are even having a better time of it, but even us coaches get to learn some stuff.”

RON KRUCK: “That’s very, very cool. Now, Greg, there are training centers all across this country. There are mega-gyms popping up everywhere. What separates Jackson’s from all those other places?”

GREG JACKSON: “I think it’s the camaraderie between the fighters. We create this family atmosphere where everybody is kind of all-for-one and one-for-all mentality and so the fighters take care of each other, you know, we’re not into money or contracts or anything like that, it’s just a big family and we really look out for each other and I think that reliance on kind of loyalty and reliance on friendship and they’re all competitive but they have this cooperate dynamic as well so it’s competition but cooperate at the same time. I think that really sets us apart.”

RON KRUCK: “Did you ever imagine that Jackson’s MMA here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, would become one of the premier gyms in all of Mixed Martial Arts?”

GREG JACKSON: “I never really imagined it. It’s really nice to be considered one of the best gyms. I’m really lucky again, the credit can’t go to me. It goes to all the other coaches. We have Mike Winklejohn here in town who’s phenomenal and there’s other coaches that I mentioned before, they make a guy like me look great, it’s looks like I always know what I’m doing. The credit really goes to those guys. I’m lucky that so many fighters and so many great trainers want to work with me. I just feel incredibly blessed and I love Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is my home. I’m from the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I’m very proud of that and so it’s just nice to… you know, like last night, I was just meeting with some people and they said thanks for putting Albuquerque on the map. Stuff like that means a lot to me because this is my home and again I’m kind of big into loyalty thing so…”

RON KRUCK: “Who would have thought that Albuquerque, New Mexico would become the epicenter for MMA?”

GREG JACKSON: “You know… I guess not many people but that’s the cool thing about having a place where… like I had to figure all of it because there’s nobody here really to teach me MMA, I had to figure it out all myself and I think that was actually instead of a detriment it was a benefit because I could really understand combat from the inside-out because nobody was really here to say, OK, you put this with that, I had to figure it out all myself. So, the isolation of Albuquerque I think really helped me because I was forced to figure things out. I was forced to come up with these moves. I was forced to come up with the stuff because again there was nobody here. Somebody said, oh, a lot of it might have been luck, being at the right place at the right time and I definitely think that’s an element to it. But I took a step back and I was like, well, I was really kind of disconnected from everything and so I think I was lucky in a different way. Like I didn’t have access to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu masters or you know I mean Mike Winklejohn really helped me with my kickboxing and wrestling’s OK here, it was good but we’re not like Iowa or Oklahoma City or these wrestling masters as well so having to figure all that out, I think I was lucky but not in the way that people think.”

RON KRUCK: “Greg, tell us one unique thing about Jackson’s that nobody else knows.”

GREG JACKSON: “Jackson’s has the world’s most handsome coach and not a lot of people are aware of that fact. He could have gone with GQ. Could have really had a great modeling career. Gave up the whole modeling career just to train fighters. So, a lot of people aren’t aware of that.”

RON KRUCK: “Well, you just made the announcement on Inside MMA, so the word’s out. They’re going to see it.”



RON KRUCK: “Were you surprised that the UFC let (Keith Jardine) go?”

GREG JACKSON: “Yeah, I was a little surprised, you know, Keith’s always fought his heart go and it’s one of those things where he doesn’t show up not to fight. He shows up to fight every time. And it’s easier if he fought guys who aren’t top tier but everybody’s he’s lost to has been right at the top or on their way to being right at the top of the game so it was a decision that you know I could see the UFC’s point of view. Of course, he’s my guy and I’m ultra-loyal so I never agree with it but you know they did what they had to do so we’re hoping to get some fights and get back on the winning track and we’ll see where the future leads.”

RON KRUCK: “There have been critics that he’s maybe on the downside of his career. How much fight does he have left in him, in your opinion?”

GREG JACKSON: “I think Keith Jardine has as much fight as he wants to give. I think he’s actually getting better. He really is reevaluated and improving stuff so I don’t see him being on the downside of his career at all. I think it’s a speed bump but I’m the eternal optimistic and he’s one of my best friends in the whole world, so…”

Topics: Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 4 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

4 Responses to “Inside MMA’s recent gym feature series with Greg Jackson”

  1. Fluyid says:

    I don’t know how Jackson is as a coach, but that really does sound great, with all of the connections between New Mexico, New York, Colorado and Montreal. Jackson’s a heck of a nice guy, and I’m sure he deserves everything that has come his way.

  2. klown says:

    The interview is a must-see (despite the annoying reporter). Greg Jackson is one of the most intriguing characters in MMA.


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