Greg Jackson has seen better days as a trainer than UFC 136. | Photo: Keith Mills
Greg Jackson may be the best trainer in MMA, but even he has bad nights and UFC 136 was certainly one of them.
All three of his fighters on the card -- Melvin Guillard, Leonard Garcia and Brian Stann -- lost their bouts. Guillard, in particular, was a significant favorite to get by Joe Lauzon. His defeat derailed his lightweight title hopes, but the Garcia and Stann losses meant just as much to Jackson.
“It was a rough night, but we were definitely due,” the trainer said. “We’ve had a great year so far. We were definitely due for a bad one, and, boy, did we get one.”
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show,” Jackson discussed what went wrong and what can be learned.
On Melvin Guillard’s loss to Joe Lauzon: “It was not sticking to a solid plan of taking somebody apart. [It was] just kind of trying to finish it with one big shot. You need to learn those lessons. You need to learn those lessons early on. I think that with Melvin, he was doing very, very well hitting everybody and hurting them. The big puncher can kind of fall in love with the punching power, and I think Melvin learned a valuable lesson and is going to come back stronger for it.”
On Guillard’s reaction to the loss: “He was just upset. We talked about getting back to where we were and climbing up again and not letting it stop us and just learning from what we did wrong that night and making sure we don’t do that wrong again.”
On Leonard Garcia’s loss to Nam Phan: “Leonard, he likes to throw the bombs and that takes it out of you. He got hit really early on right behind the ear. Even today he has a tremendous lump right behind his ear [from] when he got clipped and kind of fell down. … I didn’t know that. Afterward he goes, ‘Look at the side of my head.’ Right behind the ear there, that’s a knockout punch for sure, and he had a tremendous lump that was sticking out like into his ear. It was crazy. That he did that well after getting clipped that hard, I was really proud of him. I was really proud of his heart.”
On Garcia not following the game plan: “With Leonard, it’s expected now. I know that he’ll put together his punches in the beginning and then as the fight goes on, he just wants to go to battle. I just try to coach the best way I can around that. In between the second and the third round, I’m not offering him [advice] like, ‘Take a left angle and do this or do that.’ … Because we’re not going to change anything. Just trying to adapt to what he’s doing and coach the best I can within that framework was my goal there. It worked out for us in the third, but I wish I would have said that between the first and the second.”
On Brian Stann’s loss to Chael Sonnen: “I think Brian has shown, like against Mike Massenzio and stuff, that he can handle high wrestlers, but Sonnen’s just an amazing, amazing fighter. What he did to Anderson [Silva] his last fight was very impressive to watch. What he did with Brian was very impressive too. He’s just really, really good at what he does. Until we figure out a way around it, he’s going to be able to do it to everybody. I think Brian really showed a lot of heart and a lot of toughness, but man, when Sonnen gets on top of you, that’s a real, real tall order for anybody to get out of.”
On Stann’s strategy: “We wanted to make sure we didn’t play [Sonnen’s] game much and we ended up doing that a little bit. We wanted Brian to work out of that clinch. [Sonnen] put him up against the cage at one point, and at that point I knew we were going to be in trouble because Brian was just kind of sitting there and hitting the body and not working to extract himself. That was one of the linchpins in that fight, is we stuffed the initial takedown, but then we were still playing his game on the fence.”
On how he felt after UFC 136: “I can’t stand it. It’s the worse feeling in the world. All the credit in the world to our opponents. They all did very, very good stuff, and hopefully we’ll be better prepared next time.”
On whether he stays up and analyzes performances after a bad outing for his team: “I do that even when we win, but it’s just more of an emotional thing for me. I feel like we should have done something differently. Or how could I have prepared them differently? Sometimes it’s just not our night and sometimes the opponent just does the exact right thing and sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes it’s a combination of all those things together. However you want to add it up, it still sucks.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 57:20).