Greg Jackson is widely renown as perhaps the best trainer in all of MMA. He counts Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, Nate Marquardt and many other elite fighters among the stable of athletes that he consistently trains. Tomorrow, Jackson’s prized pupil – George St. Pierre, will take center stage at UFC 83 in an attempt to exact revenge against Matt Serra, one of only two men to have defeated the Montreal native.
Greg Jackson was kind enough to take time out with us to discuss the match up and give his insights into what may have gone wrong for his fighter the last time these two met.
Fightline.com: People in the industry say that styles make fights. How do you feel that your fighter, Georges St. Pierre, matches up against Matt Serra?
Greg Jackson: Well, I think that they match up well in our favor. Matt Serra is an amazing fighter and you can’t take away from anything he did. He hits really hard and he has a great ground game and sometimes fighters come into there own later in their career…sometimes earlier. We’re taking him very serious this time. He is a real smart guy too; he’s a smart fighter. I’m hoping the difference will be that we win this time because George is my guy of course. But I have a lot of respect for what Matt Serra accomplished and we’re taking him very seriously.
Fightline.com: Does any part of you feel that maybe Matt Serra just got in a lucky punch against St. Pierre?
Greg Jackson: You know, I don’t like to say that because it takes away from what the fighter did and that was Matt Serra’s night. So, I don’t want to say he got lucky because I don’t think that’s an accurate reflection of what happened. I think that he got in a big shot and he was able to capitalize on it. There’s an old axiom, ‘the harder you train the luckier you get’. So things definitely worked in his favor that night, but to say that he got lucky…I don’t like to say that because it takes away from the accomplishment. And I don’t want George to beat him and then have everyone say, ‘Oh, well George got lucky.’ I don’t think he got lucky. He got a big punch in when it counted and that night was his.
Fightline.com: Matt Hughes has stated that St. Pierre will win this fight easily. What do you think of his assessment?
Greg Jackson: Matt Hughes certainly knows his business. He’s fought a long, long time. I can’t ever think that way though. If I go into a fight thinking that we’re going to smash the guy, that puts me in the wrong frame of mind. And that’s the frame of mind that got George beat the last time. So we fully expect a twenty-five minute five-round war back and forth. Now if George finishes it before that then we’re out of there early, but I fully expect the best, toughest Matt Serra ever in his life and I don’t think we’re gonna walk through him at all. I think it’s gonna be a great fight and I’m looking forward to it.
Click here for the first part of Fightline.com’s exclusive interview with Greg Jackson.