Inside MMA’s Ron Kruck caught up with gym owner, and team leader, Greg Jackson at his Jackson’s Submission Fighting gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here is what the coach, many to believe to be the best in MMA had to stay about his progression in the sport.

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

Greg Jackson: “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.”

RK: “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?”

GJ: “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.”

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

GJ: “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.”

RK: “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.”

GJ: “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.”

RK: “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?”

GJ: “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.”

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

GJ: “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.”

Source: FightOpinion