It was with a heavy heart that Greg Jackson got the phone call a few days ago telling him that Georges St-Pierre was injured and would have to undergo surgery that would not only force him out of his bout at UFC 143, but out of the sport for the next 10 months.
Jackson, who has worked alongside fellow coach Firas Zahabi for several years with St-Pierre, was sad to hear the news that his fighter was out for the foreseeable future.
The sadness for one fighter soon got mixed with elation for another, however, because soon after that Jackson found out another one of his students would be facing Diaz instead.
Former WEC champ Carlos Condit was selected as the fighter to face Diaz with the interim UFC welterweight title on the line, and Jackson was once again heading up a fight camp with the belt on the line.
“As far as my emotions, I just felt really bad for Georges cause it’s a tough injury. I know how excited he was for that fight. He was really passionate about it, and it was just tough. It was hard,” Jackson told MMAWeekly Radio.
“Then they announced it was Carlos, so that’s good, but it’s bittersweet and you’re just on a rollercoaster sometimes. I definitely was on a rollercoaster with that one.”
When St-Pierre and Condit were scheduled to meet at UFC 137 earlier this year, Jackson bowed out and opted to not coach either fighter against the other. Zahabi continued his duties with St-Pierre, while longtime Jackson student Chris Luttrell headed up Condit’s camp.
St-Pierre ended up suffering an injury before that fight could even take place, and Condit got bumped back to UFC 143 in February.
Now with St-Pierre on the shelf, Jackson is back on the sidelines coaching Condit as he gets ready for the biggest fight of his career. Jackson has followed Condit for years through his upbringing in New Mexico to his time spent in the WEC all the way back to when he joined their gym full time.
Jackson is confident that Condit will get the job done, but knows just how tough Diaz is to prepare for no matter which fighter he’s getting ready.
“He’s really put a string together and earned that title shot since he’s been back in New Mexico. He’s beaten some very tough guys,” Jackson said about Condit. “Not to say he didn’t have great performances before, he did, but (Jake) Ellenberger was close and there was some other stuff, but he’s been very dominant since he came back and that’s a good thing.
“Nick Diaz is such an amazing fighter. He’s so tough and he’s a challenge to whoever fights him. Obviously he’s amazing.”
Jackson, alongside fellow head coach Mike Winkeljohn, will get Condit ready for the challenge ahead, and if successful, they may still have to deal with the St-Pierre issue down the road, but for now it’s all about adding another title to the family.