With six wins in his first seven fights, featherweight up-and-comer Hunter Tucker has started off his career in strong fashion, to which he credits his world class training courtesy of Greg Jackson’s gym in New Mexico.
“I came to Jackson’s when I was still an amateur and had four or five amateur fights with them and then turned pro two or three years ago, and honestly it’s progressed a lot faster than I could have imagined,” Tucker told MMAWeekly.com.
“I think there’s no substitute for being in the gym with guys like Carlos Condit, Jon Jones, Cowboy (Cerrone) and countless other guys that have been the places I want to go. Just getting a chance to follow in their footsteps is something that I don’t think a lot of gyms have.”
Even though he’s had great training to help shape him, one thing that has influenced Tucker the most over this past year was suffering his first pro loss to Kevin Aguilar at Legacy FC 19 last April.
“I got to fight in Bellator and then Legacy and I kind of got a little bit complacent or something because I hadn’t lost in years and started going through the motions, and once you disrespect the game, the game disrespects you,” said Tucker.
“I really learned a tremendous amount from the loss and feel it’s one of the most important things that’s happened to me so far because it taught me not to take anything for granted.”
After rebounding with a win in his last fight of 2013, against Douglas Frey at Legacy 24 in October, Tucker (6-1) returns to the promotion for his first fight of this year against undefeated fellow prospect Damon Jackson (7-0) this Friday in San Antonio, Texas.
“He is a very good wrestler, grappler and is definitely a strong dude and good fighter, so what I’m going to want to do is take him out of his comfort zone,” said Tucker of Jackson.
“He’s going to want to grab me and hold me and do his game, and I’m not going to let him do that. I think I’m really tailor made for guys like this. It’s going to be a clash of styles and I plan on coming out on top.”
A win over Jackson this Friday could be a big way to start of 2014 for Tucker and help him take the next step towards achieving his goal of making it to the biggest stage of MMA before year’s end.
“The most important thing is the next fight, for sure, but what I want to do is win the Legacy title,” he said. “I would love to get that belt and then move on to the UFC, that’s my goal, but right now the most important thing is winning this fight.”