Usually Deadspin reads like it has a serious axe to grind with the UFC, but every now and then they live up to their potential as sports writers with keen insight and publish something nice. Take their latest piece for example, titled “How Greg Jackson is Changing the Parameters of Coaching“, and which is an in-depth profile of Greg Jackson and his team as they do their thing. It’s penned by Tim Marchman – Deadspin’s Chief UFC Hater – but Marchman flipped the script on us and cranked out 12,000 words of quality narrative that is definitely worth reading.
Here’s an excerpt, but the article itself is a must-read:
Dodson, though, is precisely as stressed as you’d expect of someone who managed to convince Pop Rocks to sponsor him. He’s watching previews for bad movies, talking shit (“When I win the title,” he says, “I’ll be like Jon Jones. ‘Skin my apple! You know I don’t like the skins!'”), quaffing from his giant jug, and explaining how the key to smart fighting is an empty mind.
“When any fighter has to start thinking about more than two things, they’re done,” he says. “I like to just have key notes.” This makes enough sense; during the fight, his heart rate will be up over 180 beats per minute, which makes conscious thought nearly impossible. For weeks, he’s been committing patterns and sequences to muscle memory, which his corner men—Jackson, Winkeljohn, and Gibson—will cue by shouting out keywords during the fight. If he’s trained properly, the whole thing should be almost automatic, a matter of strict reflex.