Trainer Greg Jackson still has faith in Andrei Arlovski. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Andrei Arlovski suffered his fourth straight defeat Saturday, but trainer Greg Jackson remains hopeful that the former UFC heavyweight champion can still get his career back on track.
“I think he’s going to come back a better fighter,” Jackson said recently on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “You have to remember I’m a diehard optimist. It’s really hard to discourage me or tell me it shouldn’t be done or it can’t be done. I’m a guy that I think I know what to do to fix it. I’m going to try everything I can to do that.”
Arlovski was knocked out in the first round of his Strikeforce heavyweight matchup against Sergei Kharitonov. Jackson explained that Arlovski followed the game plan initially but then veered away from it.
“He kind of hesitated standing in front of [Kharitonov] and was grabbing around the neck and doing stuff that we hadn’t planned,” Jackson said. “For me, that’s part of the learning process. It didn’t go our way because we made some fundamental mistakes that we weren’t supposed to make. Of course you don’t want to stand in front of Kharitonov no matter who you are. He’s got bombs in either of those hands of his. We were doing very, very well following the game plan and we kind of had a lapse.”
One major criticism of Arlovski is his chin. However, Jackson disagreed that his fighter’s ability to take a punch is the issue.
“He got hit really hard by ‘Bigfoot’ Silva as well. He was taking some hard shots and was able to weather that storm,” Jackson said of the May 2010 decision Arlovski dropped to Antonio Silva. “He lost the decision of course, but still, he took some shots and was able to hang in there. It’s just these guys that he’s fighting, if you make one mistake with any of them, you’re going to get eaten.”
In Jackson’s view, Arlovski is consistently making the same mistake. The trainer did not go into particulars, but he said he has a beat on it now.
“I’m really identifying the mistake. It went a little deeper than I thought it did,” Jackson said. “Identifying that mistake and changing what we do there is going to be a big, important factor. I don’t think he has a weak chin. I think he’s fighting in a heavyweight division where these guys would knock down a house if they hit it.”
Jackson, who began working with Arlovski some before the Silva fight, is recognized by many as the top trainer in the sport. He believes Arlovski can still be one of the top heavyweights as well.
“I really learned a lot about Andrei and what we need to change and do differently,” Jackson said. “I don’t discourage easily. I want to go right back to the drawing board and attack what I think we need to attack to make him a better fighter.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:27:30) with Jackson, who also discussed Jon Jones, Rashad Evans and more.