Jason High has always trained alongside fighters from his own weight class as part of American Top Team in Florida.
The gym is well known for having a laundry list of top athletes who compete in the UFC, Bellator and other major mixed martial arts promotions from around the globe.
Unfortunately for High after signing to fight in the upcoming Professional Fighters League (PFL) tournament, he discovered that at least three of his teammates from American Top Team would be joining him in the lightweight divisional bracket.
While High has no problem training alongside fighters he might one day face, the prospect of three teammates potentially opposing him in the tournament signified that it was time to make a change.
“I knew there was going to be at least two of my contemporaries that were going to be down there training and then it ended being three guys in my bracket,” High explained when speaking to MMAWeekly. “So there would have been four of us down there of the 12, so a third of the people in the pool would have been down [at American Top Team] training.
“I just didn’t really want to do that. I’ve still got love for everybody at American Top Team but I’m sure they understand.”
To help in his preparation for the tournament, High enlisted the services of the famed Jackson-Wink academy in New Mexico, which is where he’s been training for nearly two months to get ready for his first fight on Thursday night.
Jackson-Wink is one of the most respected gyms in the world with a slew of top fighters training out of there so it was a no brainer for High to team up with them ahead of the tournament.
“It was awesome. I really like what they’ve got going on down there. The style and just the attitude and the group of coaches down there, it’s a great spot to train,” High said.
“There’s more training partners than you could ask for down there. Even the younger guys some no names that you wouldn’t know are amazing fighters.”
High says he definitely plans on returning to Jackson-Wink after his upcoming fight against Efrain Escudero at PFL 2 on Thursday night. In fact, High says that head coach Mike Winkeljohn and assistant coach Frank Lester will both be in his corner for his upcoming fight.
The coaching staff already had to put in some extra work after High’s opponent changed at the last minute but he’s confident in the people around him will have everything in place when he steps into the cage on Thursday night.
“It’s just a game,” High said about his opponent switch. “There’s always going to be at least one unexpected thing that happens to you during a fight camp. Whether it’s an opponent change or a random nagging injury. I wasn’t too surprised. By the time I got the opponent change, the camp was already over. It’s just part of the game.”