Greg Jackson had wanted to stay out of it, but eventually he decided to corner Jon Jones for his light heavyweight title defense Saturday at UFC 145 against former teammate Rashad Evans.
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Jackson discussed why he’ll be in Jones’ corner, what he hopes will come of the matchup and more.
Jackson on whether Evans has said anything that hurt him in the buildup for this fight: “I don’t say ‘hurt.’ I guess I’m sad that he’s so angry. I guess that would be it. Definitely a lot of the things that he says aren’t true about me, but I think he’s just upset and angry, so he’s just kind of lashing out.”
On whether it is Evans’ take on their split that Jackson feels isn’t true: “Well, there’s a little bit of stuff like that, like I only care about myself and all I care about is getting coach of the year and stuff like that. I’ve been doing this for 18 years, and coach of the year has existed for, I think, three or four of those years. I do my time. I do whatever it takes to help the most people that I can. It’s just stuff like that more than anything else, where I’m like, ‘That’s actually not true, but OK.’”
On whether he has talked with Evans since their falling out: “No, not really, just because there’s been a lot of negativity. I don’t want to get into a he said, she said battle or anything like that. It’s not my style to jump in there and start yelling and arguing with people that obviously are so hurt and so upset right now. I was hoping to let him cool off a little bit, but that doesn’t seem to be working because he just keeps getting more mad.”
On his relationship with his fighters: “If I really was the devil, so to speak, I have a lot, a lot of fighters and none of them would be wanting to hang out or be part of the team or any of that stuff if I was this guy who was just waiting to screw people over and I had done that over and over and over again. Fighters are smart people. They’d figure that out pretty quick. I think it’s pretty obvious to anybody that kind of steps back that it’s just Rashad because Rashad’s angry and hurt, and he’s just saying whatever he can, I guess, to be negative about me. But it doesn’t take long to look back and to see that that’s really not the case at all.”
On whether Evans and Jones could ever train together again: “I don’t know. That’d be a question for those guys. There’s certainly a lot of anger from Rashad right now. I don’t think there’s a lot of anger from Jon. He’s ready to go, but I don’t think there’s a ton of anger. I think that’s a question for Rashad.”
On whether Evans could rejoin Jackson’s team if he wanted: “We’d definitely have to talk, but that’s the thing about friends. If you have a falling out, as long as everybody’s amicable again, there is a chance for reconciliation. Whether that’s going to be one of these cases or not, again, that’s a question for Rashad.”
On how fellow trainer Mike Winkeljohn influenced his decision to corner Jones: “It came down to Mike Winkeljohn, especially, telling me I should corner Jon. [Winkeljohn] has a lot of influence on me. We’ve been best friends for 17 years or so, and what really did it for me, for myself, was studying the Civil War and understanding what those guys were doing, the loyalty that they had for sometimes the United States or sometimes their state and understanding that sometimes I have to put my own personal feelings aside. Because I would have just liked to stay out of the whole damn thing, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, even if you don’t like to do it.”
On what he’d like to happen at UFC 145: “It doesn’t matter who wins or who loses, but I’d sure like to see them fight their hearts out and have respect and at least be friendly after this. That’s, to me, the ideal outcome. Winning and losing is great, and of course we always go to win, but it will be the respect afterwards, I hope, that comes through with those two.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:27:23).