I’ve decided to start writing more MMA based articles on my own website instead of for someone else. I am of course, still grateful to FeelTheTip for having faith in my writing and giving me a platform. Hopefully, I will be able to secure fighter interviews for this site as well as providing insight and MMA news. As part of this change, I want to kick things off with a new series which I am going to call “The Pioneers of MMA”. My first pioneer is someone who I am a huge fan of… Greg Jackson.
The Early Years
In 1974, in Washington D.C., Kris and Jim Jackson were blessed with the arrival of their son, Greg. At the age of three, Greg and his family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Greg came from a family of Wrestlers, his older brother, father and uncle were all champion wrestlers – because of this and growing up in a rough neighbourhood, Greg began to study martial arts.
In 1992, after graduation, Jackson formed his own Martial Arts style, Gaidojutsu (Japanese for “Way of the Street”). This style has drastically changed over the years and has evolved to suit the modern day world of MMA.
In the year 2000, Jackson’s Gym officially became an MMA school. Though the sport that would eventually sustain him, was also a point of contention within the gym, as Jackson was originally opposed to the UFC. Luckily for many students (and fans) some of Greg’s students convinced him to corner them and the rest is history…
The Ultimate Fighter
Diego Sanchez is and was a big sucess story for the growing gym. He was offered the opportunity to fight for Pride FC (I feel obliged at this point to say “Pride will never die”) but Sanchez turned down that opportunity to appear on “The Ultimate Fighter”; a move that was less than popular with Greg at the time.
Sanchez of course, was one of the fighters that has captured the imaginations of the general public. He is to this day, one of my favourite fighters of all time. He also won the show and a six figure contract with the UFC.
2007 was another pivotal year for Jackson and his gym, he met famed kickboxer, Mike Winkeljohn.
Winklejohn wanted to learn some of the grappling techniques spreading across the US. From there, Jackson and Winklejohn partnered up and exchanged ideas. As a result, the school became Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA.
The Very Best
Over the years, Jackson has cornered for or coached some of the very best mixed martial artists. The list is staggering. Below is a list of some of my favourites…
- Jon Jones
- Rashad Evans
- Diego Sanchez
- B.J. Penn
- Georges St Pierre
- Holly Holm
- Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
- Andrei Arlovski
- Alistair Overeem
- Gina Carano
The list goes on and on and those were off the top of my head. As a result, Jackson has had many many great moments that I could mention. For me though the best moment was fairly recently…
November 15, 2015 – UFC 193
Ronda Rousey was the reigning, defending champion. Holly Holm was the former boxing champion who a vast majority did not give too much hope to.
What followed was a Greg Jackson and Holly Holm masterclass. Rousey was outclassed, outgunned and out cold.
At the end of the fight, Holm’s corner were going nuts, as you would. Not Greg. Greg tried to calm everyone down… “we were supposed to do this”.
That sums up the man for me. Long live the man who was brought up as a pacifist, yet turned to mixed martial arts instead.