LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 30: Mixed martial arts trainer Greg Jackson holds the Coach of the Year award at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
When considering the top mixed martial arts (MMA) camps across the globe, one has to look no further than to Albuquerque, N.M., which is where the famed Jackson-WinkelJohn Mixed Martial Art's gym is located.
The facility that operates out of the 505 area code is home to today's top MMA stars such as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, interim UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit, Donald Cerrone, Brian Stann, Diego Sanchez and Shane Carwin, among others.
With no shortage of superstar power training at his gym, Greg Jackson finds himself at the helm of one of the -- if not the -- top MMA gyms on the planet, with the aid of striking Guru Mike Winkeljohn by his side.
However, with so much success coming out of his talent-laden camp, the day eventually comes when a few of his pupils may have to meet one another inside the Octagon. As is the case that led to the rift between former training partners, current 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones and former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who flourished under the tutelage of Jackson.
Currently, Jackson finds himself in the middle of another dilemma, as two of his top fighters, Carlos Condit and Georges St. Pierre, are currently the interim and reigning UFC welterweight champion, respectively, and are likely to meet down the road to unify the belts.
Something Jackson says is one of the hardest things he will have to endure.
Greg Jackson recently opened up the doors to his new Jackson's MMA Fitness Gym in Albuquerque to MMAmania.com, talking about the UFC 143 aftermath, his friendship with Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit's next fight and the criticism that often times accompanies his winning game plans.
Make the jump to hear from Greg Jackson himself:
"I'm not sure. (why game plans are criticized) I will be honest, there have been fights that we have won, that I was like, "Oh man, this one is going to be all over the news." But no one says a word. The Carlos Condit fight was not that controversial. We out struck him, landed more power shots and way more strikes. We had complete Octagon control, we decided when and where the exchanges were going to happen and if we didn't like it, we got away and started again, so you can't really make a case for him (Diaz) doing more damage because we did more damage and you can't make a case for him controlling the fight because we controlled it. So that criticism doesn't bother me that much because It was just more of people's disappointment wanting to see two fighters stand there and swing and last man standing wins. But, you know, fighting is about hitting and not getting hit. We hit him a lot more and we didn't get hit. So I don't feel bad about that one. Listen, there have been times in my 18 years of doing this where I'm like, "How did we win that one?" And I'm like, "What, no one got mad?" No one says a word. A lot of people were just disappointed because a lot of people just wanted Nick to win and because of Nick's style. It is just part of the territory."
On Nick Diaz' positive test for traces of marijuana that axed hopes of an immediate rematch between he and Carlos Condit and what is next for "The Natural Born Killer:"
"I can't really speak to that. I really actually like Nick Diaz a lot, he's a good friend of mine and I hope he gets himself in a position where he doesn't do those kinds of things so he can really advance his career. Carlos is a warrior he wanted the rematch right away way before he knew all this was going on, so it was disappointing. As far as who is next, I'm not his manager, but it's up to Carlos, if he wants Jake (Ellenberger) we will fight Jake, if he wants to wait for my other guy, GSP, we will wait."
On the instances where he will have two of his current fighters fighting each other:
"It's very hard, that is why I don not get involved. I can not pick sides, I just can't do it. It will be a tough night for me, I will probably just go hide somewhere and grab a cheeseburger."
On how hard it would be to corner Jones against Rashad Evans at UFC 145:
"It would be a nightmare to coach against Rashad (Evans) because I still consider him a really good friend. However, I might just have to put my personal feelings aside and do what is best for the team."
Jon Jones tweeted yesterday the Jackson will indeed corner him in the much anticipated Light Heavyweight championship showdown between he and Rashad Evans, which is scheduled to go down at UFC 145 in Atlanta, Ga., on April 21, 2012.
With the continued success of Jackson's MMA system, it will probably not be the last time he and his training staff will find themselves in this situation, and that can be either a good thing, or a bad thing, depending which side of the fence you stand.