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Fightmania Mailbag: Greg Jackson, St. Pierre-Koscheck, MMA Injuries

By on June 6, 2010

greg jacksonThere’s always plenty to talk about in the world of mixed martial arts, and the beginning of a summer chock-full of big events is definitely no exception. Luckily, some of our fine readers have seen fit to speak their minds on a variety of topics, which I will gladly address in another edition of the Fightmania Mailbag. This time around, the Mailbag will include topics like Greg Jackson’s use of strategy during fights, Koscheck’s chances (or lack thereof) against Georges St. Pierre, and much more.

Jake from Cedar Rapids, IA writes:

It seems to me that Greg Jackson is hurting the sport much more than helping it these days. His fighters (such as GSP and Rashad Evans) have recently taken to trying to just win decisions instead of actually fighting for a finish. Is it really good for the sport to have viewers plunk down their cash only to see a borefest where the better wrestler just keeps laying on the other fighter to get a decision? I get it, the sport’s about winning, but it’s also entertainment. If this is the kind of coaching Jackson is going to do, his fighters are not going to be very popular.

I have to disagree, Jake. While it’s true that both St. Pierre and Evans have been taking much more advantage of their wrestling skills in recent fights than they had previously, that’s not really representative of Jackson’s entire camp. Look at the other fighters that Jackson coaches: Keith Jardine, Jon Jones, Nate Marquardt, Leonard Garcia, Donald Cerrone, Shane Carwin…not exactly a bunch of boring fighters who like to “lay and pray”, as everyone is so fond of saying these days.

The fact of the matter is that Jackson simply does what he should do as a coach: he tries to help his fighters become well-rounded, while giving them game plans that take advantage of their strengths. That means when Carwin fights, he will look to muscle around his opponents and put them to sleep with his heavy hands. When Cerrone competes, you can expect an attacking style of jiu-jitsu and a bit of kickboxing, to boot. Then, of course, when superior grapplers like GSP and Evans fight, they will naturally take advantage of their ability to dictate where the fight takes place.

Mixed martial arts is a tough sport. When you see Evans “laying on” Quinton “Rampage” Jackson or Thiago Silva, it’s not like Rashad doesn’t want to put an end to the bout. It’s just that doing so is often much harder than it looks. Anyone who has trained jiu-jitsu knows how difficult it can be to finish an opponent, even if you get in a dominant position. This is doubly true when the opponent is very skilled or is intent on just defending or surviving, rather than mounting an attack that will leave openings for you to capitalize on.

Lastly, you are exactly right: it’s a sport. Fighters must fight to win, period. There are usually anywhere from 6-8 fights shown on a UFC card, and a good number of them are often great fights. They can’t all be barn-burners, but rest assured that one high-profile dud here and there won’t collapse the sport. All Jackson is looking to do is to help his fighters win, and it’s the opposition’s job to catch up with the fighters that he coaches.

Shane from Tulsa, OK says:

I know that the UFC is going to hype up the St. Pierre-Koscheck fight in order to get fans to believe that it will be a competitive fight, but does anyone honestly think Koscheck has a chance in hell? St. Pierre outwrestled Koscheck in their last fight, and he is a better striker, too. Last but not least, he has a better jiu-jitsu game, too. I can usually give just about anyone a shot to win in an MMA fight, but how does someone win when their opponent is better at everything???

Whoa there, Shane. The past is not always representative of the future, and while I won’t be putting any money down on Koscheck come next winter, I wouldn’t be so sure that the guy has no shot. It’s true that St. Pierre outwrestled Koscheck in their first fight, but Kos had also been focusing exclusively on his stand-up for some time prior to that fight. He believed that his wrestling was so far ahead of his other skills that it would be smarter to work on everything else, confident that he could outwrestle anyone in his division. Well, at the same time, St. Pierre was working his butt off to become the best wrestler in the division, and we all saw the results.

Now, Koscheck has rededicated himself to getting his wrestling back to where it should be, and he has a while to do it, as the two won’t be able to fight for at least six months. He also has the last fight to reflect upon and study, and the end result is that he should be able to put up a much better effort this time around. As far as the “hype” part goes, you are definitely right. After all, the two are being featured on yet another season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, which is why we won’t be seeing this bout until there’s snow on the ground, sadly.

James out of Albany, NY wants to know:

I have to ask you…where does the awful knee injury that Jared Hess had during Bellator Fighting Championships 20 rank in your list of gruesome MMA injuries? That was nasty!

Indeed it was. When it comes to recent injuries, it is definitely among the hardest to look at. Others on the short list include Duane “Bang” Ludwig’s recent ankle injury at the inaugural “UFC on Versus” show and, of course, Corey Hill’s leg break at the UFC’s “Fight for the Troops” event. Even in an all-time list, it’s definitely right in the mix. Anyone who doubts that can simply google “Jared Hess knee injury” and be prepared to have their doubts (and maybe their lunch) removed. Hopefully Hess can make a full recovery- the fact that he wanted to continue fighting even after the injury is absolutely amazing, and explains why I’m a writer and not a fighter.

E-Mail Jon Hartley

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