Despite Latest Criticisms, Greg Jackson Says “I’m Actually a Big Cesar Gracie Fan”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Heading into last weekend’s Strikeforce event in San Diego, the pre-fight storyline was relatively tame and insult free in comparison to some of this year’s high profile cards. Following the event, however, Cesar Gracie took to Twitter to direct a comment at the renowned Jackson’s MMA Team, which had ended up going 1-3 on the night.
Gracie’s not so subtle shot, which included telling a “certain team from New Mexico” that “dancing with the stars don’t cut it here”, quickly made headlines. One of the bouts, of course, involved Ronda Rousey, who had spent time training with the famous Gracie team in California. The women’s bantamweight champion needed less than one minute to defeat Sarah Kaufman, who had spent time preparing with the trainer of Jackson’s MMA, Greg Jackson.
“It doesn’t really bother me to be honest,” Jackson told Full Contact Fighter, while discussing Gracie’s comments. “That’s not nearly the worst night I’ve had, believe me…We won one fight that night and we lost three. Julie Kedzie gave a great performance, but we had a bad night. I’ve had worse summers where we didn’t win for like three months.”
Although Jackson has helped coach some of the sport’s biggest names, and guided some of MMA’s most memorable performances, the coach understands he has his critics.
“I don’t let people saying who I am, or what my team is define me,” noted Jackson, who has come under fire from some, who argue his fighters aren’t aggressive enough. “It doesn’t bother me that much.”
“I’m actually a big Cesar fan,” Jackson added. “I love his guys. He’s a great trainer and he has a great team. I never wish bad on anybody. When you’re down, that’s not the time to kick somebody, so I would never say something like that myself. I’m a more positive guy…it’s just competition. It’s just fun. I don’t have anything against Cesar and if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
Gracie has also been critical of Jackson and his team in the past. After Jackson’s MMA fighter Carlos Condit earned a unanimous decision win over Gracie’s star pupil Nick Diaz in February, Gracie blasted the elusive strategy Condit employed to earn the much discussed win.
“I don’t know; I guess you would have to ask them that question,” said Jackson, when asked if he believes Gracie’s comments could also be targeted at setting up future bouts between the two camps. “We’ve competed against one another a lot of times and sometimes we win, and sometimes they win. That’s just competition.”
“I don’t know if it’s a tactic or not,” said Jackson. “Obviously by attacking the team it gets people motivated I guess, but I don’t know if it’s going to get our team wanting to fight all of their guys. We’ve never turned down a fight with their team and we never will. We have the utmost respect for them. We want to fight the best people out there and he definitely has four or five of the best guys out there. It’s an honor for us to go against him. We would never be the kind to duck them or need to be goaded into fighting them . ”
In the second article of this feature series, Jackson discusses the upcoming bout between Dan Henderson and his fighter, UFC light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones.