Jackson Wink is known as one of the best MMA Camps in the world. Many distinguished fighters in MMA from all around the world train here.
How Did You Become The Head Of The Jackson Wink Camp?
I guess I was in the right place at the right time. I was working with many Russian fighters, trying to find my place in that field. I used to live in New Jersey and I met a sports manager who was one of the first to bring fighters from Russia to the United States and we started working together. I began to accompany the fighters to their fights, help them in all of the preparations, from training, to diet, to translating. I have a black belt in BJJ, so I was in that environment and I knew what I had to do. Once I came with one of the fighters from Russia to Jackson Wink MMA for the training camp, they were looking for someone to run the new gym they were building and I was offered a job on the spot. I ran many businesses before and I had lots of professional experience, from web design, graphic design, video editing, I am a one man army that can do many great things. I am very grateful to Coach Mike Winkeljohn for giving me this opportunity. The man is a legend and he changes lives every day. He doesn’t get enough credit for this.
What Exactly Are Your Duties In The Gym?
My duties include everything, literally. From promoting the gym, recruiting fighters, working with all the coaches, working with sponsors, keeping order at the gym, and all the day to day operations. We have about 50 fighters that live at the gym, so I am always very busy helping everyone out and making sure we keep moving forward.
Do You Have Your Own Apartment Complex For Athletes?
Yes, athletes from all over the world come to train here. Some have been living here for years, some come for short camps. I am responsible for everything at the gym, I solve all the problems, help train athletes when possible, train myself and help to find fights. In general, I am responsible for every moment in the gym. I live for this; I like this job very much.
Your Instagram Account Contains A Video Of You And Khabib Nurmagomedov Talking To Dana White About Something, What Was That Event?
It was his fifth fight in the UFC if I am not mistaken, when he dominated Pat Healy. Dana White came up to congratulate us on the victory. He was very impressed with his performance. I was there to help Khabib with his preparations like weight cut and final training, translation, and I was filming the backstage documentary.
Are You Still In Touch With Khabib At The Moment?
Not anymore. He is too big now, and I don’t want to bother him. Hopefully our paths cross one day. He wrote a popular book and thanked me couple times for helping him, and I would like to shake his hand and thank him in return.
What Famous Fighters Have Risen From The Jackson Wink Gym?
Our gym was one of the first in this sport and we had many famous fighters train here, from Jon Jones to Holly Holm, to Diego Sanchez, Georges St Pierre, Rashad Evans, Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem, Claressa Shields, and many more legends who used to or still train here. JW is the longest raining gym in the business. Greg Jackson has been training fighters since 1992. UFC started in 1993.
Is Jon Jones Still Training At Jackson Wink MMA?
No, he doesn’t train here at the moment!
You Have Said That You Got A Black Belt In BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). Why Have You Chosen To Do Specifically This Type Of Martial Arts?
– I believe that fighting is something special, for me, it is something tough and fundamental. When you dominate your opponent in a fight you get great pleasure out of it. Before BJJ I was doing sambo and that was back in Moscow, but when I started doing BJJ, it was love at first sight.
Has Your Sport Career Changed Your Life Outside The Gym?
Yes, of course, you live right, you think right, you eat right. In fact, you always think about health. Sport definitely has the power to change people’s lives.
Besides BJJ, Do You Hone Your Boxing Or MMA Skills?
Yes, I train striking with the team. I trained Kickboxing for awhile. I do like it, but compared to the BJJ training I am not doing this sport constantly.
What Do You Think: Does The Level Of Boxing, MMA, And Sports, In General, Increase Every Year Or Does It Decrease Over Time?
I think that the sport is growing fast and becoming very popular. In Russia for example new combat shows are constantly invented. I think if a sports project has an audience and people watch it, then why not do something new. Let’s take the example of UFC, I remember how it all began, at that time athletes didn’t get much money, and over the last 20 years, great progress has been made. I am sure that with every following year the sport will develop even more in many directions. People love to see fighting.
Due To Covid, In The Last Two Years There Have Been Many Changes, And A Lot Of Restrictions Including Gym Attendance. How Has Your Gym Survived The Pandemic?
We had to do what we had to do – Jackson Wink gym is our life. Of course, the first couple of months were very stressful, because everyone was scared and no one knew what was going to happen next, but as time went on everything normalized and we continued our work.
Today, the doors of Jackson Wink MMA Academy are open to all professional and amateur athletes.
The head coaches of the gym are Greg Jackson and Michael Winkeljohn.