Jackson On Jackson: Trainer Talks Jardine-Rampage

By Lutfi Sariahmed Mar 5, 2009
There are no off days when your client list includes the likes of Georges St. Pierre, Nathan Marquardt, Rashad Evans and Leonard Garcia among many others. Last Sunday, master trainer Greg Jackson was in the corner of both Damacio Page and main eventer Leonard Garcia at WEC 39. This Saturday, Jackson will be back in the spotlight, as he corners Keith Jardine (14-4-1) against former light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (29-7) in UFC 96’s headliner in Columbus, Ohio.

Jardine (14-4-1) has been on this big stage before with mixed results. While the Jackson pupil has wins over Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell, he’s also lost in just as emphatic a fashion to Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva. Facing another potent striker in Rampage, Jackson thinks the game plan for Jardine is simple.

“Quinton’s a strong puncher so I guess trying not to get punched would be a big thing,” Jackson told on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Wednesday. “Sometimes you just get caught. This is a big powerful division and Keith’s fighting all the best. So if you zig when you should’ve zagged at any time you can get caught. Anyone can get caught. He’s been caught once or twice before but that helps us because we want him to take a power puncher very seriously. I think it’s more of a matter of making sure you do everything at the right time and the rest will take care of itself.”

Dissecting the fight further, one quickly realizes the role that leg kicks could potentially play in this bout. Jardine has become well known for his strong kicks -- it helped lead him to that decision win over Liddell. Rampage, on the other hand, was picked apart with leg kicks in his bout with Forrest Griffin at UFC 86, and lost his title because of it. However, Jackson the trainer believes the sport changes too quickly for Jardine to rely on what may have worked in another fight.

“You have to remember that everyone is getting better,” said Jackson. “Quinton’s a smart guy and he’s going to go back and watch out for leg kicks. The Wolfslair guys are great strategists so they’re going to know that Keith has great leg kicks. I don’t think they’re going to be a huge factor in this fight because he knows they’re coming. It’s like me coming up to you and telling you I’m going to punch you in the face with my right hand. If you’re ready for it it’s a lot harder to punch you in the face with my right hand, so I don’t think they’re going to be a huge factor in this fight.”

The main event on Saturday could serve as a springboard to a light heavyweight title bout with another Jackson camp fighter. If Rampage gets past Jardine, a rendezvous with newly crowned Rashad Evan probably awaits. Jackson, known by his fighters as “Yoda,” will then be sent right back to the corner.

“Every time we go against someone I get to know them a little bit better so it definitely helps out to have fought them if we’re going to fight them if it in fact worked out that way,” Jackson said. “It’s an advantage for me because I learn. If we win I learn and if we lose I learn, but I’m always learning and I’m always studying. It’s my only redeeming feature. So it’s a little bit of an advantage to have an experience with something or somebody. It helps guide you into the future for sure.”
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