Archive for Boxing

Verbal Sparring: Eddie Jackson (Legends MMA)

Posted in Interviews, Legends MMA with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2009 by jaytan716

If you’ve ever seen a cute little five-year old running around the gym, mischievously tumbling and wrestling with one of the exercise balls, you know Legends MMA fighter Eddie Jackson is in training.

Eddie Jackson with trainers Jimmie Romero (left) and Chris Reilly (right).

Eddie Jackson with trainers Jimmie Romero (left) and Chris Reilly (right).

Granted, proud poppa Eddie is several feet taller, with a shaved head, chiseled physique, and tattoos, but as his younger son, Jason, has become a fan favorite of many Legends MMA members, so has Eddie in his budding fight career. Having represented Legends successfully at numerous local amateur Muay Thai events, Eddie Jackson thrives on a competitive challenge. As such, he has turned to MMA to satisfy that hunger, fine-tuning his striking skills and adding an Eddie Bravo-styled ground game to his arsenal.

Taking a moment out of his training, Eddie discussed his Inglewood roots, the lesson learned from a dubious debut, and why he prefers individual competition over a team effort.

JT: Tell us about your background and how you got started in MMA. Did you do other combat sports before?

EJ: I was born and raised in Inglewood. I have a boxing background. I was boxing right after high school. Maybe 17 or 18. . . Just to keep me away from everything else, all the troublemakers I hung out with. . . I got into it and really pushed up into it in my 20’s. Had a couple of amateur fights. I wasn’t too consistent in it, because I kinda got in trouble, but every time I had a chance, I’d go into the gym and start hitting the bag.

JT: Did you start with Chris and the Bomb Squad?

EJ: No. I used to train at Hollenbeck in East LA, Crunk’s Gym in Santa Monica, and the old county jail in Cypress. They’d turned it into a boxing facility. I jumped into the Bomb Squad a few months before they moved and became Legends. I wanted to add more artillery to the arsenal by getting into MMA.

JT: Was boxing the escape from the streets like it is for a lot of fighters?

EJ: Just running with the wrong crowd. I was a kid, too. I got caught up in a bunch of stupid things. I had to deal with the consequences, of course. But luckily, I was able to focus and see the downfalls of that path. I quickly jumped out of it.

JT: Did you have your first fight by that point?

EJ: I had a lot of little amateur smokers and that. About a year after high school, some of them were real backyard ghettoish situations. It wasn’t like how these smokers are set up now, with the crowd. It was just word of mouth.

JT: You were on some Kimbo Slice shit.

EJ: [laughs] Yeah man, it was some backyard little bullshit. It was cool. The experience was there. You had guys showing up, fighting in jeans and shit. That’s how it was. But it was cool. It wasn’t like what it is right now. I know how it is to get hit and brush it off.

JT: When did you get serious about fighting?

EJ: Probably in my mid-20’s. Actually, when the sport started growing, like the whole UFC thing. The competitiveness. Any kind of one-on-one combat. Not to knock off basketball or football, when you have teammates, but any one-on-one combat is always been it for me.

JT: It’s different mentality, where you’re in it for yourself.

EJ: Exactly. I mean, you’ve got your corner to help you out, but you’re in there. Nobody else in there, just you and him. Kinda like “his skills and your skills.” Let’s match ‘em.

JT: It takes a certain personality. When you started boxing, did you see yourself going down that road, as a serious boxer?

EJ: I didn’t take it too seriously, but then, when I realized “man, I’m kinda running through these guys here”. . . From when I thought I had skills, and when my trainers and everybody else thought I had something they could work with, I took it more seriously. . . They kept telling me that I had something there that most cats don’t.

JT: When did you start working on your ground game? Was it through Eddie Bravo, or other dudes as well?

EJ: Yeah, mainly through Eddie, and the various fighters that come in and out of Legends. I was picking things up quick. I messed around with world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu cats. I was like, “this isn’t going to some regular little dojo.” These dudes knew what they were doing. I was learning top-of-the-line techniques quick. It was pretty intense.

JT: Your last fight, at Tuff-N-Uff in November, was your amateur MMA debut. You had a guy at 170, and then they fed you somebody at 185. What did you get out of that experience?

EJ: It was a good, but bad experience. It wasn’t the kind of experience I wanted to start off with. The dude I was supposed to fight backed out at the weigh-ins.

JT: What was the guy’s excuse?

EJ: He said something about his wrist. I said “well, you know, I’m banged up too.” My wrist, my back. I’m throwing all kinds of excuses just to get him to fight. But he was just too much of a vagina to do it. So I’m like whatever.

So they threw this other cat at me. He was 185 lbs. You know, 15 pounds weight difference in MMA is a huge thing. You get that weight on top of you; that makes a difference. . . They’re like “well, you don’t got a fight. He don’t got a fight. You wanna go at it?”

So I came out doing what I do, which is stand and bang. The fight went to the ground. I guess he had a wrestler background, so that was to his advantage. Plus, with the extra weight he had. . . The ref stopped the fight and that was it.

It kinda fucked with me, how they threw it at me. I had to make a decision right there on the spot, to take the fight or not. But I believe in Chris [Reilly] and he wouldn’t put me in a situation where I was gonna come out real bad. I know what I can do with my skills, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. The outcome didn’t go in my favor, but . . .

JT: You got that first defeat out of the system. And now you know. . . is there any of that?

EJ: A win’s a win, and a loss is a loss. I can’t take it too hard because they switched it up at the last minute and I fought someone who was 15 pounds heavier. My whole game plan. . . went right out the door. So it was kinda one of those Kimbo and Shamrock situations, where they switched it up at the last minute. And it was a choice too, so I didn’t have to. But I’m not gonna head all the way down there and not fight. I had teammates that fought that night too. . . The spontaneous things happen and you just make a decision and make the best of it.

JT: Is there a little less pressure on this fight coming up, now that it’s not the first one? Does it feel different to you?

EJ: I feel a lot more comfortable and a lot less pressure going into this fight. . . Now that I know what I’m going up against, the mental part of it – I know what’s going to happen. I know what to look forward to. . . Because of what I went through last time, I’ve been training ten times harder, going through everything. Starting off getting mounted and how I’m gonna get out of that. Just ridiculous ways of how the fight would end up and how I’m gonna get out of it. I feel comfortable, and I’ve got Reilly’s training, so I feel good.

I’m a game-day player. Even since high school, when I played football, I’d slide off. During training, during practice, I’d half-ass it. But come game-day, I showed up. I was all over the place. I did my job like how I was supposed to. That’s kinda like how I am. I’m that game-day player. I don’t want to build too much hype, because then my nerves get the best of me. Just play it cool, and come game-day, the minute I’m getting taped up. . . it’s like the point of no return.

JT: What would you say your record is in boxing and Muay Thai?

EJ: I didn’t know when to start keeping track of it, but. . . when I started getting serious, I’m probably about 20-5 in boxing. In Muay Thai, I’m 10-1 since I’ve been at Legends. My only loss in Muay Thai was a decision. I lost to a heavyweight. It was kinda like the same thing that happened in my MMA fight. The dude I was supposed to fight didn’t show up. I fought at 180 that night, but the dude I fought, he was at 205 pounds.

JT: What’s the toughest part of fighting for you? Is it mental? The repetition of it all?

EJ: The mental part is definitely something. . . because you figure everybody’s tough. Everybody can hit. It’s like, when you’re already tired, you’ve got nothing left, and you’ve got to go that extra round. That’s fighting. That’s when you feel like what you’re really made out of and what you really have. That’s when your heart comes out.

I think mentally, and probably the conditioning, the repetition, the repeated coming in and knowing you’re going to get your ass kicked. That’s the toughest part of fighting.

JT: How do you combat that? When you start to wear down in the training? Either you’re fatigued, or you’re bored?

EJ: With me, certain sparks ignite during training. Because there’s times when I’d go in there like “aagghh.” Sluggish – I don’t even want to be there. Or I’m sparring with somebody and he goes and hits me in a certain way, and I’m like “oh, okay.” Wakes my ass out of it. Or if he’s being competitive, I kinda want to push to start rating myself above that. It’s like, if he goes here, I gotta match him. That spark kinda helps how training goes.

Or there’s time with Chris when he’ll bring a certain people, like Jeremy Williams or Jason Mayhem [Miller], if he tells me “we’re gonna be sparring with these guys today,” I’m like “oh, shit.” That kinda does it for me too. That kinda lights it up.

JT: What would you say is your best and your worst memory of your combat sports career?

EJ: Worst memory [Long pause] . . . probably my MMA debut. Because it was the biggest show for me. The biggest real deal. And to have it go down like the way that it did. And I was telling people about it, hyping it up. Probably more than I should have. And the way that it went down, it was like “aagghh.” I didn’t feel too bad about myself, but what they did. . . it was like “aahh, shit.” I didn’t like that at all. It was really discouraging.

And then I guess – most of my other wins in Muay Thai, because I kept winning. Taking my first loss, that first one that I had up there; I felt bad, but I didn’t feel too bad, because I fought someone whom I wasn’t even supposed to be with in the ring. So I don’t really want to count that, but my first MMA debut. It was really a hard pill to swallow. Because of the way it went down, and it was right there. I didn’t allow myself to do what I know I can do. It ended the way that it ended. I didn’t like it.

JT: What’s the next steps, five years from now or where do you see it going?

EJ: I’m still young, I can still do this right now. I’m gonna take it as far as I can take it. . . As long as I don’t suffer any long-term permanent injuries that stop me from doing it, I’ma do it. I’m gonna take it as far as I can take it. I can turn it off anytime. I got a lot of love for this sport.

JT: From a fan perspective, who are some of your favorite fighters? In boxing and MMA. . .

EJ: Boxing would be Roy Jones, Jr. Just, his fighting style, his mentality. Like, that whole one-on-one combat. He shares the same mentality about that. The way he described it – that’s my mentality too. For MMA, I would say Wanderlei Silva. He’s got this monster-beast thing about him. I try to come out like that. Just really aggressive. I want to spend the least amount of time in there. He goes in there, he does his job, and he just goes balls-out.

JT: He goes Incredible Hulk.

EJ: Some guys want the finesse and want to run around looking pretty. I’d rather go in there looking like shit, come out. I’m in there to do one thing. I’m not trying to be in there longer than I need to be. The way he comes in, the mentality. He just has that killer instinct. And it’s the best killer instinct that I can think of. And when I see him, it’s like “man. . .”

Ruthless Robbie Lawler. He’s like a little Wanderlei to me. He just goes in there and doesn’t fuck around. He gets the job done.

Anybody can be strong, anybody can throw a punch, a kick. But if you’re not here mentally, you can take yourself out in the first seconds of the fight. Just go in there, relax, and be calm. The guy’s human, just like you. He bleeds red, not green. He’s got two arms, two legs. He’s been training as much as you have. What are you worried about? What’s the worst that can happen. He’s got gonna stab you. He’s not gonna shoot you. If you really think about it, you train for whatever he can throw at you. You’re above the average person already.

It’s not him that I’m fighting. It’s everybody else that’s watching. Because if you turn the lights off, and it’s me and him in the ring, oh, it’s on. No problem. But if you fill up that whole arena, you’ve got thousands of eyes on you, and that’s when the nerves kick in. Because everybody’s watching. That makes the whole difference.

JT: You think you can ever get over that, or is it something that’s there for every match?

EJ: I’ve been fighting long enough to where I should be calm and cool now. I’ve learned how to control it, but I think it’s just my personality. On my first fight, I was like, shit, I wanted to throw up. I know I’ve come a long way in learning how to control the nerves. But it’s natural to get nervous. It’s human nature. It’s a feeling of knowing you’re alive.

JT: What about your downtime? What do you do to rest your head mentally?

EJ: Shit, play a lot of video games. A lot of Playstation. I spend time with my kids. I go riding with my boys. I’ve got a motorcycle. We go down Canyon or head down Malibu. . . . I just do everything that I can’t do when I’m training.

JT: You get done with a fight. Your hand is raised? What’s that first thing you’re going for? What do you get your grub on?

EJ: If they have a Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, I’m there. I’m headed straight to Roscoe’s. And I got a sick sweet tooth. Anything deep fried, chocolate, greasy, that’s my thing.

Shortly after this interview, Eddie Jackson fought in an eight-man tournament at the Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA event in Las Vegas, beating Johnny Batres of Team Fubar via TKO at 0:08 seconds of the third round. He is expected to next fight Joshua Morgan (CTKD) in the next round of that tournament.

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