Greg Jackson Protege Chuck Pieritz: It Makes No Sense Fighting If You’re Not Trying To Be The Best
By Bryan Levick
When you think of Greg Jackson and Jackson’s MMA your mind automatically centers on the great group of UFC fighters they have in their camp. Beginning with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, The Ultimate Fighter season one champion Diego Sanchez on down to former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, there is a ton of established talent housed under that roof.
Those guys didn’t start off as superstars or world champions, they had to work hard and hone their craft before becoming the fighters you see today. Jackson has the ability to work with both young up and comers as well as fighters who have joined him after achieving success elsewhere. Regardless of when they team up with him they all get better. There is one young mixed martial artist training at Jackson’s MMA who is very highly regarded and ready to break into the big time very soon.
“My name is Chuck Pieritz and I’m originally from the Quad Cities which is up in Northwestern, Illinois,” Pieritz told Alchemist Radio. “I wrestled my entire life on through college where I attended Iowa Central Community College. After that I got into MMA and moved down to Jackson’s about seven months ago. We have awesome training partners; top of the line coaching it’s everything I could want as a fighter.”
Pieritz has a very impressive amateur record of 16-1 with the lone loss coming in his first fight. He won his first professional fight in August via first round submission. He will fight Saturday night for Rocktagon MMA and despite having a wrestling background he considers himself a skilled fighter in all aspects of mixed martial arts.
“I’d like to think I’ve gotten more well rounded as a fighter,” said Pieritz. “When I first got into it I’d say I was definitely just a wrestler. I’ve been trying to evolve the other parts of my game. I think my Jiu-Jitsu has gotten a lot stronger as well as my ground and pound. I prefer taking the fight to the ground and working on submissions and ground and pound, but I’m working on my stand-up too.”
“The weigh-ins are this Friday and my fight is on Saturday night. I don’t have a lot of information on my opponent, but I’m pretty sure this is his pro debut. I haven’t put too much focus or attention on him and his game plan because I’m working on bringing up all the parts of my game right now.
When you train with a team as talented as Jackson’s MMA you are expected to not only prepare yourself to the best of your abilities you are also expected to help your teammates out when they have fights on the horizon. For a young guy like Pieritz it’s essentially a win-win situation for him considering the amount of experienced fighters who surround him each and every day.
“You have to work both angles of it,” Pieritz stated. “When we’re in that room we are working together to get everyone ready and at the same time you’re focused on your own camp. When we’re in that room we’re really helping to get everyone better. I feel like I’ve been a part of helping some of the guys prepare for their fights coming up. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m excited to see how they do in their upcoming fights.”
The big fight coming out of the Jackson camp this weekend was Jon Jones defending his UFC light heavyweight championship against Alexander Gustafsson. While many feel Jones lost, the majority feel that he won and he now holds the record for most title defenses as a light heavyweight with six. Pieritz made sure to catch that fight.
“I just caught his fight, it was the only one (on UFC 165) that I watched,” admitted Pieritz. “It was awesome, Jon is a warrior. People like to say he hasn’t been tested, but he was coming off a big injury and Gustafsson was a game opponent. Jon weathered a bit of a storm and really shined in the 4th and 5th rounds. It’s pretty amazing accomplishing the record for title defenses at 205 and that’s the first of many records I’m sure.”
When Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva at UFC 162 in July I went down to Ray Longo’s and spoke with UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta. We spoke about how motivating it was for the other fighters to see one of their teammates accomplish something so amazing and to bring that title back to the gym. Pieritz echoed those same sentiments when we asked him what it was like training with champions and title contenders.
“I think it’s awesome it gives you a good look at what these guys are doing to become who they are,” offered Pieritz. “If you’re not doing that (following suit) then there’s something wrong I think. You go in there every day and you’re side by side with all the top guys in your weight class and some of the best fighters in the world. It’s motivating, they’re in there working hard and it makes no sense doing it if you’re not trying to be the best.”
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